Rockport High School students in Wellness and Science teacher Amanda Jylkka King’s class recently learned about “Dementia Friends” with Carrie Johnson, Coordinator of Age & Dementia Friendly Cape Ann and Dementia Friends Champion. (Photo credit: Amanda King)Approximately 130,000 people in Massachusetts age 65+ are living with Alzheimer’s. A group of students at Rockport High School recently became Dementia Friends as part of a campaign to tackle the stigma and lack of understanding about dementia.
Dementia Friends is a worldwide initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way we think, talk and act about the disease by providing information sessions in the community. The Dementia Friends session helps people learn about dementia and the small ways they can help people living with the condition.
The Rockport students engaged with the topic, learning new information and getting a deeper understanding of the condition. One student stated: “I learned a lot more about dementia than I already knew…I think that if more people could understand dementia, the community can change the world.” Another student elaborated, “I also know now that you can be happy while living with dementia. And that even though it will be with you for the rest of your life, you can still live a good life.”
The Information Session was hosted by Wellness and Science teacher Amanda Jylkka King and Carrie Johnson, Coordinator of Age & Dementia Friendly Cape Ann and Dementia Friends Champion.
Dementia Friends Champions are volunteers who lead information sessions with the goal of destigmatizing dementia. Speaking about the session, Carrie Johnson said: “I was so pleased to see students showing their support for those living with dementia by engaging so deeply with the session and becoming Dementia Friends. We need to create more dementia friendly communities so that people affected by dementia feel understood and included.”
Age & Dementia Friendly Cape Ann (www.adfca.org) is an initiative of SeniorCare (www.seniorcareinc.org) and the four Cape Ann communities. For more information about Age & Dementia Friendly Cape Ann or the Dementia Friends movement—including how to host an Information Session—contact Carrie Johnson at [email protected].