ACTON — Town Manager John Mangiaratti and Council on Aging Director Sharon Mercurio announce that the Town will be offering a series of programs during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in November to increase awareness of memory-related issues, in collaboration with Planning Director Kristen Guichard and the Wellness Initiative Network Committee.
Acton is an Age- and Dementia-Friendly Community, undertaking a number of efforts to make the Town accessible, equitable, and inclusive to those with age-related or memory-related issues, their families, and caregivers.
Town employees are being offered a “Dementia Friends” training on Monday, Nov. 1. This program will help employees recognize the signs of dementia to better understand and support residents living with memory-related issues.
Det. Mike Eracleo will speak about the Police Department’s Safe Return program, which helps police to identify residents at risk of becoming lost.
The Council on Aging will host two programs led by Kris Wuerdeman, Program Director for Cooperative Elder Services, Inc., in Acton. She is a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP), Validation Teacher (CVT) and Alzheimer’s Association Habilitation Trainer.
- What is Normal Aging vs Dementia?
While some mild changes in cognition are considered a normal part of the aging process, dementia is not. Participants will learn differences between normal aging and significant cognitive decline and how it affects our lives. Participants also will discuss the stigma that surrounds mental cognitive decline and ways to address this issue as one ages. The program will be held Monday, Nov. 22, at 11 a.m.
- Dementia: Can I still have a meaningful relationship with my loved one?
Caregivers want and need a genuine connection with their loved one, friend or relative who is living with dementia. Participants will discuss ways to build a trusting and understanding relationship, so the journey is non-judgmental, purposeful, and meaningful. Detective Jon Stackhouse and service dog Zane will be in attendance. The program will be held Tuesday, Nov. 23, at 6 p.m.
Programs are open to all. They will be held at the Acton Senior Center, 30 Sudbury Road. For questions or to sign up, please call the COA at 978-929-6652.
The Town of Acton offers the following additional resources for those with age- or memory-related issues, their families, and their caregivers:
Alzheimer’s Association: 800-272-3900
Acton Council on Aging: 978-929-6652
Det. Mike Eracleo, Acton Police Department, 978-929-7543
Cooperative Elder Services: 978-448-1400