​Dementia impacts countless families in our region. In Ohio, more than 220,000 people are living with some form of dementia and an estimated 600,000 family members are involved in providing care. The percentage of those
diagnosed is projected to increase by 19% in the next five years underscoring the need for educational resources and improved access to care.

Hospice of the Western Reserve is taking a leadership role to provide community outreach. The agency has formed a collective including other healthcare providers, community organizations and professional and family caregivers to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia. Incollaboration with the Ohio Council of Cognitive Health and the Dementia Friends Ohio program, the group meets regularly to discuss innovative ways to break down barriers and support individuals and their families through the entire care continuum.

Dementia Friends is part of a global social movement to help everyone in the community understand they can and should do something to help people living with dementia. Carole Klingler, RN, BSN, Team Leader and Community Facility Coordinator for the HWR’s Lorain County Office, has completed specialized training to become a Dementia Friends Master Trainer. She
trains others - including HWR’s paid and volunteer staff and professional and family caregivers - to provide informational sessions in the community.

“Resources are available every step of the way, from diagnosis through the entire healthcare continuum,” Carole said. “A crucial first step is to change the community’s perceptions. Our goal is to transform the way people think, talk and act about dementia. At the Dementia Friends informational sessions, we talk about communication techniques, signs and symptoms to look for and ways we can all come together to help.

“In my role at HWR, I have so many years of positive  experiences working with families impacted by dementia, so I am passionate about improving quality of life,” Carole said. “There is so much we can all do at every stage. By
understanding what’s happening to the brain, we can adapt the way we communicate and interact and do a great deal to improve quality of life.”

Interested in attending a free Dementia Friends informational session or scheduling one for your organization? Email HWRChangingTheLens@hospicewr.org.