Dementia Friendly Nevada COVID-19 Update

August 28, 2020

Hello Members and Friends of Dementia Friendly Nevada,

Greetings from the Dementia Friendly Nevada Support Team: Jennifer, Casey, and Jess. We hope this email finds you well. We are writing with a number of important updates, beginning with some exciting news: Dementia Friendly Nevada has received grant funding from the Nevada Aging and Disability Services Division (ADSD) that will take us through June 30, 2021. With this new funding, we are able to provide dedicated support to the Dementia Friendly Nevada initiative in the form of a part-time Project Director (Jennifer Carson) and a part-time Project Coordinator (Casey Acklin). Each Dementia Friendly Nevada Community Group will also receive an award of $500 to support their continued goal activities. This was an extremely competitive grant cycle, and we are very grateful to ADSD for their continued support. In addition, Jess Noonan-Phipps will continue to support Dementia Friendly Nevada as a full-time AmeriCorps VISTA, and we hope to welcome a second VISTA member in late August.

Now, we’d like provide an update regarding the activities of Dementia Friendly Nevada during the COVID-19 pandemic. In early March, Dementia Friendly Nevada made the decision to suspend all in-person activities due to COVID-19. Elders are at a much higher risk of severe complications—up to and including death—from COVID-19. As such, we felt it would be irresponsible to support in-person gatherings given this reality. We have now entered a time when many in-person services across the state are resuming, with consideration given to proper social distancing practices. Despite the relaxing of some restrictions, we still believe that the safest course of action for all elder Nevadans—and any vulnerable populations—is to stay safe at home to the greatest extent possible. Dementia Friendly Nevada has therefore made the decision to prolong our suspension of in-person services until further notice. However, we are excited to share a few ways that you can get directly involved with Dementia Friendly Nevada online, and an additional virtual social support opportunity that many members of the Dementia Friendly Nevada network worked to develop in an effort to combat social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below, you will find information about:

  1. Monthly Dementia Friendly Nevada meetings
  2. Monthly (and on request) Dementia Friends information sessions
  3. WeeklyDementia Conversations with Chuck and Jennifer
  4. The NEST Collaborative: Volunteer-hosted, virtual social support

First, we would like to invite you to participate in our monthly Dementia Friendly Nevada meetings! These statewide meetings will temporarily take the place of the six different local community group meetings that were occurring across Nevada on a monthly basis prior to the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e., Elko County, Winnemucca, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, Pahrump, Washoe County and Southern Nevada Urban). Temporarily—until we can all meet in person again—we will transition to monthly meetings of the entire Dementia Friendly Nevada network. We would love for you to join these exciting and synergistic conversations as we share ideas, learn from one another, and keep the momentum going! In the coming months, we will discuss how to bring more Dementia Friendly Nevada programs online, so that we can continue our mission of building communities that are respectful, educated, supportive, and inclusive of people living with dementia and their family care partners.

Our first meeting was on Wednesday, August 18th and was extremely successful! We will soon be scheduling a recurring meeting time and date, so keep checking back for that information (which will be posted on our homepage as soon as it is finalized).

Monthly Dementia Friends information session: We believe that education and awareness are essential components of a dementia-friendly and inclusive community. Toward the goal of increasing understanding of and comfort with dementia, Dementia Friendly Nevada is hosting an online Dementia Friends information session on the third Wednesday of each month from 12:00 – 1:00 PM. This one-hour session covers the basics of dementia, the differences between dementia and normal aging, some activities to better understand what it’s like to live with dementia, and communication strategies for interacting with someone living with dementia. More information and registration can be found at http://dementiafriendlynevada.org/dementia-friends

Weekly Dementia Conversations with Chuck and Jennifer: This online Zoom-based gathering serves as a space for anyone who wishes to discuss dementia to come together and engage in conversation with Chuck McClatchey—national dementia advocate and expert of lived experience—and our very own Dr. Jennifer Carson—family care partner and Project Director of Dementia Friendly Nevada. Whether someone has recently received a diagnosis of dementia, is embarking on the journey of supporting with a loved one, or is just interested in learning more about the experience of living with dementia, Dementia Conversations with Chuck and Jennifer is the place to be! Jennifer explains, “While we may not know ‘the’ answer—as the experience of living with dementia is varied and diverse–we will share our experiences and perspectives, and we look forward to hearing your views as well.” Dementia Conversations with Chuck and Jennifer takes place every Monday from 10:00 – 11:00 AM. More information and registration can be found at: http://dementiafriendlynevada.org/dementia-conversations

The NEST Collaborative, developed in partnership with members of Dementia Friendly Nevada, is part of the broader Nevada COVID-19 Aging Network (Nevada CAN) rapid response led by ADSD: an effort mobilized to address the comprehensive needs of elders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevada CAN‘s NEST Collaborative provides Volunteer-hosted social support to reduce social isolation and loneliness and ensure that elder needs are met during this time of social distancing. Elders can select from individual and/or group-based options, and services available in English, Spanish, and other languages based on Volunteer availability. The NEST Collaborative is premised on the belief that elders are a valuable resource that we can tap into during times of struggle, including the COVID-19 crisis. It is not just about what Nevada CAN do for elders, but also what elders can do for each other, with just a little technical assistance. The NEST Collaborative is comprised of 3 programs:

  • CHECs: Calls for Homebound Elders in the Community
  • PEER Groups: Places for Elders to Engage and Relate
  • TECH: Technical Education and Connection Help

If you or someone you know would like to sign up for these social support services, there are multiple ways to do so. You can:

  1. Visit nevada211.org, click “Resources for Seniors” then “Request Help” and complete the “Request for Assistance” form. Direct link here: https://www.nevada211.org/seniors-request-for-assistance/
  2. Dial 2-1-1 from any telephone, and ask about “Nevada CAN Social Support.”
  3. Text your zip code to 898211.

Thank you for being a part of the Dementia Friendly Nevada family. We value and appreciate your continued partnership in working toward inclusive communities and a Nevada where everyone thrives. Please stay safe and well, and we wish you all the best.

Sincerely, 

The Dementia Friendly Nevada Support Team: Jennifer, Casey, and Jess

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