Dementia Friendly Sun Lakes News and Happenings

Sheryl Keeme, Executive Director of Neighbors Who Care and Co-Chair of Dementia Friendly Sun Lakes, and Elaine Poker-Yount, Chair of Southeast Valley Memory Café and Co-Chair of Dementia Friendly Sun Lakes

Dear Sun Lakes Community:

This is a really big deal! As of September 2022, Sun Lakes has been designated as a Dementia Friendly Community. What does that really mean for you?

It means, as a family living with dementia, there is hope, help, and understanding right outside your door. As a neighbor, it means it will be a little less awkward to handle what may previously have been a more difficult situation.

It means we have enhanced this incredible community with all of its assets to have yet one more amazing benefit—easy access to dementia resources. Along with that, we will continue to create awareness and understanding of what dementia is, what it looks like, how it affects both care partners (those living with it and those caring for loved ones living with it), and their families. This program will allow all of us to both better understand it and live with it a little easier.

Dementia is a family disease. Everyone in our circle is affected by it. Whether your family has been touched or one of your neighbors or friends is now showing some signs of change, it affects us all—individually and as a community. And the sad reality is, many people are ashamed to share their situation for fear of unacceptance. They close their doors and hide instead of reaching out for help.

We are here to help facilitate change. Sun Lakes Country Club will kick off their community meeting. We invite you to join us to learn how you can become a dementia friend at a Dementia Friend Informational Session on Wednesday, Jan. 18, from 1 to 3 p.m., at the Sun Lakes Country Club Mirror Room.

RSVP to Elaine at [email protected] or 480-203-8548.

We’ll start with a five-minute introduction to each of the resources that are right here in Sun Lakes to help, and then we will have a one-hour informational session so you understand exactly what it means to be a dementia friend. Question and answer period to follow. This is a free program open to the entire community.

The management of all our country club communities are on board to help rid the stigma associated with this diagnosis and to embrace all who are living with some cognitive changes. Both Sun Lakes Country Club and Robson Reserve have already had their entire staff go through the Dementia Friend Informational Session and are on their way to becoming Dementia Friendly Businesses.

There is a Sun Lakes Dementia Friendly Action Team that is working to spread the word and get all of the businesses in Sun Lakes on board. We are looking for volunteers who are interested in being a part of this life-changing program. Volunteers who are interested in becoming champions and offering the informational sessions are also needed. Please contact Sheryl at Neighbors Who Care for more information.

We hope you will join in and be a part of a warm, welcoming, and much-needed community program. For those who are not interested in volunteering, it only takes an hour or so of your time to become aware, become a friend, and benefit so many people. There are no time commitments involved or required after this class! We look forward to seeing you on Jan. 18.