Tacoma, WA – With an aging population, the number of people living with dementia will increase. Lutheran Community Services (LCS) Northwest is getting us ready for this by creating a dementia friendly Pierce County.
With offices in Tacoma, Bremerton and Port Angeles the three-state human service agency focuses on senior services in Pierce County. LCS received a $1 million three-year federal grant last year to improve dementia awareness and activities in Pierce County.
“We want to increase public awareness and how to support people with dementia,“ said LCS Northwest Dementia Services Director Maria Holt. ”We’re also implementing activities focusing on the arts to improve the quality of life of people with dementia and their care partners.”
There are an estimated 12,000 seniors living with dementia in Pierce County now. That figure is projected to increase to 20,000 in 10 years as Baby Boomers age.
LCS is the Regional Lead Host for Dementia Friends, an international public awareness initiative. Awareness is created through a presentation of 60 minutes that cover key information about dementia. Businesses, services groups, churches and organizations are perfect for the sessions.
Currently, dementia information sessions are held virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the time is right, we will return to face to face sessions.
“Information sessions are great for people who work and interact with the public,” said Dementia Services Program Manager Wendy Morris. “We want to reach anyone from bankers to baristas with our training.”
For the last five years, LCS has offered social opportunities for people with dementia and their care partners. They team with the Alzheimer’s Association for Zoo Walks in Tacoma, and have been hosting Memory Cafes throughout Pierce County.Two new activities are on the horizon. Opening Minds Through Art will pair volunteers with people who have dementia for art classes. A trained instructor will lead weekly classes that will start later this year.
LCS will partner with a local theater to offer Memory Ensemble, which uses techniques of improvisation to help people with dementia build coping skills and become less isolated. An acting instructor and a clinician will co-lead the class that is scheduled to begin this fall.