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ACT on Alzheimer's preparing state for impacts of disease

ACT on Alzheimer's is a volunteer driven, statewide collaboration preparing Minnesota for the impacts of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. According to ACT on ALZ MN, a group of national cross-sector leaders met in Washington, D.C., on Jan.

ACT on Alzheimer's is a volunteer driven, statewide collaboration preparing Minnesota for the impacts of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. According to ACT on ALZ MN, a group of national cross-sector leaders met in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 29 to explore the possibility of developing a National Dementia-Friendly Communities Initiative based on the ACT on Alzheimer's dementia-friendly community framework.

"The meeting followed the collaborative process that has worked so well in Minnesota," said Seth Boffeli, Minnesota AARP. "I wasn't sure it would work inside the Beltway, but everyone came together, discussed and debated, and agreed on steps for taking action." The meeting was co-convened by AARP, USAgainstAlzheimer's and ACT on Alzheimer's.

Throughout the meeting, ACT on Alzheimer's was praised for a well-designed program with robust community engagement and resources.

"The meeting reinforced the cutting edge nature of our work in Minnesota," said Deb McKinley, Stratis Health. "Everyone who helped build this process should be proud. The 33 ACTion communities implementing changes around Minnesota may not realize that they are true models for how communities across the country can move towards becoming dementia friendly."

Crow Wing County and the Brainerd lakes area became involved with the ACT initiative in 2013 and has completed three of the four action phases involved in the process to work toward becoming a dementia-friendly community by creating supportive environments for everyone touched by this disease. A community survey has been completed to identify current strengths and gaps, and the data has been analyzed.

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A community meeting for all involved in the survey will be held March 25. The fourth phase will be to ACT together to pursue priority goals that foster community readiness for dementia.

Members of the Crow Wing County ACT team include representation from family members/concerned citizens, local agencies/medical facilities serving seniors, the Central Minnesota Council on Aging and Crow Wing County Community Services.

The Brainerd/Baxter Act Team, as they are officially named, is part of the Lakes Area Memory Awareness Association. Anyone interested in becoming involved in this initiative is invited to attend the monthly meeting held the second Wednesday of the month from 8-10 a.m. at Home Instead in Brainerd.

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