By Leader Staff
The Olympic Area Agency on Aging (O3A) announced it has received state funding as a pilot site to help and support people with possible or diagnosed dementia to live …
By Leader Staff
The Olympic Area Agency on Aging (O3A) announced it has received state funding as a pilot site to help and support people with possible or diagnosed dementia to live their best lives and stay at home as long as possible.
The program, known as the Dementia Resource Catalyst program, is designed to support people with dementia, including those in the early stages, to stay active, socially engaged, and in their own homes. Supporting family caregivers is a key component to this program, ensuring family members can stay healthy and continue to help their loved ones with dementia to stay home.
Bri Buchanan has joined O3A as the new Dementia Outreach Development Coordinator. She brings 15 years of hands-on dementia experience in management positions, community outreach and training, and serving families in need.
“Those living with dementia are still living,” Buchanan said. “It’s important to honor them and their journey by showing compassion and supporting them in areas they need. We also can’t forget the importance of supporting the family members who are at home caring for their loved ones with dementia. Training, education, respite, and emotional support must be options that these caregivers can get quick access to.”
With the coming increase in the average age of the population locally, in Washington state, and nationally, it’s expected there will be more people experiencing dementia. Forecasts also predict there will be fewer paid and unpaid caregivers. Alzheimer’s disease is the fourth leading cause of death in Washington state, according to the Department of Health, and its prevalence increases with age after 65 years. O3A supports options that help people stay safe and independent for as long as possible if that is what they choose.
Buchanan aims to bridge local gaps by applying her extensive knowledge of community education and training, creating and managing dementia-based programs, and caring for those living with dementia. Her goals include building relationships between community services, first responders and the medical community in a comprehensive way to will help support individuals and families who are dealing with dementia.
Her first project will be to design and implement a dementia training specific to staff and community professional needs. She will also work to promote a Dementia-Friendly Region that supports communities in protecting the dignity and independence of those living with dementia, and their caregivers.
“We need stronger, more accessible community programs to support those who financially are not in a position to afford memory care environments and for those who wish to age in place,” Buchanan said. “Building a dementia-friendly Peninsula means everyday citizens have a base level knowledge and awareness of dementia—especially those working in service industries. We want to educate as many people as possible so caregivers and those living with dementia can come out of isolation and live socially healthy lives for as long as possible.” Learn more about O3A resources at www.o3a.org online.