Sun Lakes Named a Dementia Friendly Community!

Join us for lunch and learn more about this movement in our community on Monday, Nov. 28, at 11:30 a.m.

As part of Sun Lakes Coalition of Care’s latest effort to support Sun Lakes residents living with dementia, Sun Lakes has been officially designated as a Dementia Friendly Community! Please join your neighbors and the Sun Lakes Coalition of Care for a Dementia Friendly Kick-Off Celebration on Monday, Nov. 28, at 11:30 a.m. at Lindsay Hall of Sun Lakes United Methodist Church, located at 9248 E. Riggs Road, in Sun Lakes. To register, call Neighbors Who Care at 480-895-7133, Ext. 170, or visit and search Dementia Friendly Sun Lakes Kick-Off to RSVP. A light lunch will be served.

For the last 18 months, Dementia Friendly Information classes have been offered to the community free of charge. The Perfect Place at Oakwood Creative Care, the Memory Café housed at the Sun Lakes United Methodist Church, and Neighbors Who Care, known as Sun Lakes Coalition of Care, set out to request the Dementia Friendly America initiative to formally recognize Sun Lakes as a Dementia Friendly Community. The goal is to share information that helps families living with a diagnosis of dementia understand the disease and learn best practices of how to continue to enjoy life and day-to-day interactions with a loved one living with the disease. Every month, the Dementia Friendly classes were attended by couples living with a diagnosis, golf friends, dinner friends, neighbors, and professionals serving the dementia community. These classes are helpful, with common sense and proven techniques on communication, managing difficult behaviors, and learning a new way to approach friends and loved ones for the best results with daily interactions.

“Neighbors Who Care, as part of the Coalition of Care team is committed to doing all we can to ensure that all our residents, regardless of dementia-related challenges, can access the resources they need in order to help create the life they choose and experience a sense of belonging, purpose, and well-being,” said Sheryl Keeme, executive director.

At the Kick-Off, attendees will learn about the dementia friendly program and other programs in place nearby that support dementia families. Individuals who want to be more involved may sign up to become Dementia Friendly Champions, offering the free one-hour information classes to businesses, civic groups, community groups, and individuals.

Dementia refers to a wide range of medical conditions that cause a decline in cognitive abilities, including Alzheimer’s disease. Over 6.2 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and 11 million caregivers support them. In Arizona, more than 150,000 are living with Alzheimer’s disease, with 257,000 caring for someone with the disease. Arizona has the highest average number of hours per unpaid dementia caregiver in the country.

The Dementia Friendly Sun Lakes initiative aims to bring community members together to support the increasing numbers of individuals and households affected by dementia, grow awareness about the signs and symptoms of dementia, and make Sun Lakes more accessible and inclusive so that those living with dementia and their care partners can remain in the community, feeling welcomed and valued.

For more information on Dementia Friendly Sun Lakes or how you can be involved, please contact Elaine Poker-Yount, Memory Café Chair and a Dementia Friendly Coordinator, at 480-203-8548 or [email protected].