Dementia Friendly San Antonio City Proclomation
SAN ANTONIO, Oct. 4, 2021 – With more than 400,000 Texans age 65 or older living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, and expected to increase nearly 30% by 2025, there is a pressing need for inclusive communities that support families touched by the degenerative diseases.
San Antonio was the third Texas city to earn the designation “Dementia Friendly City” by having a community grassroots effort working to welcome and support those with the condition, and provide helpful resources to caregivers. The designation is from the national nonprofit support organization Dementia Friendly America.
On October 4th, 2021, San Antonio District 8 City Councilman Manny Pelaez presented a proclamation from Mayor Ron Nirenberg to the advisory council of the local initiative, Dementia Friendly San Antonio, recognizing the national designation and urging support for the group. The presentation took place at the UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing, whose Caring for the Caregiver program collaborates with the community effort.
“I … hereby recognize San Antonio as a Dementia Friendly City and call upon its citizens to learn more about dementia, to embrace and support those living with dementia, and their caregivers, to enjoy a high quality of life, with meaning, purpose and value,” the proclamation reads. “I call upon our citizens to support the work of Dementia Friendly San Antonio in creating an inclusive community for everyone touched by dementia.”
Carole White, PhD, RN, director of Caring for the Caregiver at UT Health San Antonio, and adviser to Dementia Friendly San Antonio, said the mayor’s proclamation comes at a critical time.
“It is a forceful call to action for San Antonio to continue wrapping its arms around those living with, and caring for, individuals with this urgent health challenge,” Dr. White said. “As Alzheimer’s and other dementias are on the rise nationally and in Texas, a lot of us have been affected by these diseases or know someone who has.”
Led by Dr. White, the Caring for the Caregiver program provides regularly scheduled training classes for new caregivers, social opportunities for caregivers and their families, and even a choir called Grace Notes. It supports the Dementia Friendly San Antonio advisory council and is a community champion of the effort.
The program partners with other active members of the initiative including the Alzheimer’s Association-San Antonio & South Texas Chapter, City of San Antonio, Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG), Catholic Charities, WellMed, Meals on Wheels/Grace Place, and individual caregivers.
“We all recognize the benefit of a community that is more inclusive, respectful, and safe, where everyone feels included, engaged, and supported,” Dr. White said.
To find out how to support Dementia Friendly San Antonio, or for more information, go to https://utcaregivers.org/dementia-friendly-san-antonio/