A Friendly Space in Time....
We would like to invite you to take a few moments on this page to read about the movement to create a community that is committed to keeping the knowledge and accomplishments of our aging generation alive and thriving.
Our vision of an age and dementia friendly community
In our community we want those who are aging or living with Dementia to still be able to thrive and feel welcome. To continue to visit their favorite places and be active in their favorite hobbies. To continue to spread the wisdom of the years on to those who will listen. To have good care when there is need for it without feeling ashamed or embarrassed.
Aging is a beautiful thing and brings out the humanity in all of us. It makes us realize that when we look back over our lives we have been able to accomplish great things, gain great knowledge of who we are and how we have evolved. Who we have influenced and passed our traits on to. The feeling of when we look into the eyes of our children and grandchildren and see ourselves. We find the good and the bad experiences work together to create the society that we are today. And if some of these memories seem to fade we can create a connection to bring the memories to life again through communication, art, music, and genuine love and caring of one another.
Being aware of the experiences People Living with Dementia have, and their caregivers, is one way to reduce the Stigma that comes with the name "Dementia" or "Alzheimer's". Not all experiences are "horrifying" or "burdening". There are "good times" and "closeness" that is experienced that may have never been experienced before. There are those who are living their lives with Dementia and making the best of it with their loved ones. It can be difficult to keep the good experiences coming, nevertheless, most things in life are difficult and take effort.
Dementia, in itself, has taught us that we need to not take communication for granted. That we need to give effort in our everyday lives to communicating better and more openly with one another. So let the community work together, through awareness and education, to lessen the negative experiences for People Living with Dementia and learn how we can give the communication and dignity that we all deserve!
On May 4th, 2017 People Living with Dementia, local professionals, and other leaders throughout the community met to discuss and set goals in an effort to improve the lives of People Living with Dementia and their care partners by changing how our community supports understands, and engages them.
Dr. Phil Stafford's vision for an age friendly community
Bloomington on the “age-friendly” cutting edge.
Since the beginning of the century (2000), towns and cities around the world have initiated efforts to become more “age-friendly.” I’ve enjoyed being involved since the beginning, serving as a consultant to the AdvantAge Initiative in 40 cities. Since 2014 or so, the World Health Organization has supported age-friendly efforts and, with AARP support in the U.S., now reaches nearly 200 cities worldwide.
The WHO model promotes community development around eight critical domains of elder wellbeing and community health. Certified cities undertake a five-year planning process to become more age-friendly. Work is wide-ranging, from a focus on health and housing to public spaces and the built environment.
Bloomington is known as a community working on becoming friendly for all ages and abilities, not just the aging population. Now, Bloomington helps pave the way by incorporating a “dementia-friendly” lens into the work. This helps put Bloomington at the cutting edge of the age-friendly movement under the able leadership of the IU Health Bloomington Hospital Alzheimer’s Resource Service and a very capable team of volunteers and aging professionals.
Phil Stafford recently retired as the Director of the Center on Aging and Community at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, Indiana University. He has been active in publishing, teaching, conducting research, and consulting in the field of aging for 35 years. He is the editor of Gray Areas: Ethnographic Encounters with Nursing Home Culture, and, more recently, Elderburbia: Aging with a Sense of Place in America. A cultural anthropologist by training, Phil has his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. from Indiana University.
Herb Magley's message
To Each and Every One of YOU:
Except for one of you, You have no idea who I am…and I do not know any of you personally, BUT I stand in awe of what you all are trying to accomplish. My father-in-law died from Younger Onset Alzheimer’s…..my wife’s uncle died from Alzheimer’s and my sister’s husband has been diagnosed with dementia. Worst of all for me, my best friend and wife was diagnosed at 54 with Younger Onset Alzheimer’s. We suffered through 11 years of Alzheimer’s, trying our best to make something worthwhile out of an impossible situation that we both knew was a death sentence. No one around us, save the incredible support group that the Alzheimer’s Association established, knew what we were going through and most people, even our friends, kept their distance from the “Odd Couple”. They all lived and died in a world that did not wish to deal with dementia…..that turned their backs on us. Our DFA was the Support group that was formed for the younger victims and their caregivers by the local Alzheimer’s Association.
What you are trying to accomplish is to remove that horrible stigma that surrounds those victims dealing with the disease and us caregivers. It would have been soooo much easier for us to have lived in the world that you heroes are trying to put together. You will face an uphill battle and, at times, I know you will be overwhelmed and want to give up. You may feel that the task is too difficult and that no one may care. Let me tell you from the millions of us out here who are so praying for your success…..NEVER GIVE UP THE FIGHT…….NEVER! You are our heroes and we are looking to you for help.
We need you now more than ever…..this disease is an epidemic and it is growing out of control. I now lead the Support group that was my DFA, that saved my life….and it has grown from a half dozen to more than 2 dozen in a few years.
Rest assured that your work is being noticed and millions of us are praying for its success. You are truly making a difference….you are giving us something we haven’t had much of lately……HOPE. Please make your dream a reality for the millions who so desperately need what you are trying to accomplish.