There are too many stories of friends, family and neighbors with dementia getting scammed by a crook who wants their money or valuables. It saddens me immensely. That’s why I immediately sat down to write after reading this Wall Street Journal article, ‘Dementia-Friendly’ Cities.
Turns out that Paynesville, Minn., a town of 2,400 friendlies, is ‘dementia friendly’ and they nurture dementia.
That means the folks who live, work, sleep and eat in this small Midwestern community are nurturing their elders and being kind to a aging disease no one wants, everyone fears, and for which there’s no cure.
I applaud and admire the elders of Paynesville who created this nurturing dementia mentality.
The article states, “The number of Americans 65 and older with Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, is projected to rise 40 percent over the next 10 years, to 7.1 million from 5.1 million, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, a national nonprofit group.”
Apparently, the movement to nurture dementia is taking off in Florida, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Arizona, and West Virginia, to name a few. There is a national pilot program called Dementia Friendly America modeled on the work in Paynesville and Minnesota’s 36 dementia-friendly communities that is turnkey for other locations to help those 65+ manage this age-intensifying condition.
Cross-disciplinary organizations often collaborate to put such programs in place. In Paynesville, there are volunteers who help with caregiving, buying the groceries, with yard work, and more. Foundations and healthcare companies also help implement the community-wide programming so that people with dementia and their loved ones can receive some comfort on their path.
Nurturing Dementia Is About Changing Mindset, Like Good PR
The public relations aspect of this national program provides great opportunity for collaborative community relations with the goal of helping humanity. It’s heart marketing at its finest, and you all know by now I have a podcast called, The Heart Of Marketing.
Before the disruption in technology began to turn entire sectors on their heads, we did grassroots public relations. We built relationships in communities with influencers and leaders. We listened to the community to understand problems they wanted solved. We heard from businesses about their resources they wanted to put into play in the communities. We approached foundations and non-profits to see what role they wanted to be accountable for. We set out to change mindset and cultural shift.
Plans were drawn up. Everyone got marching orders. Action happened, and goals were reached with good-old community relations and relationship building. This was all before the time of social media; it was called traditional public relations.
For a national program like this, more people can be reached. There are more ways to engage families of people with dementia and to nurture dementia with technology.
I’m so happy the Wall Street Journal covered this PR story. It’s a good thing when we get to read news of collaboration and the principles of heart marketing that I tout on my podcast with John Gregory Olson. When your role is oriented to caring for a community, you need to constantly adapt with the needs of the people.