SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - After what’s been an onslaught of tragic stories this week involving the elderly and their caregivers, officials want to remind the public that there is help from local resources throughout the Suncoast that offer assistance services and outreach programs. Plus, there’s an initiative across the state to take the help for those affected even one step further.
Those suffering with dementia, as well as their caregivers, are already under a ton of stress. They don’t need the adding factor of people not understanding what they’re going through, so that’s why the Dementia Care and Cure Initiative was started.
There were three reported murder-suicides over the course of four days on the Suncoast, including one where a 94-year-old man killed his 80-year-old wife, who suffered from dementia, and then attempted to take his own life but the gun malfunctioned.
The Florida Department of Elder Affairs created the program to help make communities across the state dementia-friendly. Sarasota County was the second county to join this effort, and has a task force that works hands-on with businesses. They focus on helping them become more accommodating to dementia-related issues and earn a “caring community” designation from the state.
“They want to be able to go somewhere and feel comfortable, whether it be to a restaurant or to a pharmacy,” the Task Force Director for Sarasota County, Danielle Valery, explained to us, “Just people to notice the warning signs, and if somebody might be alone in the community and they can notice the changes, or for a caregiver to be able to have a social life and not feel embarrassed or worried about how their family member might be treated because they might repeat themselves or have other problems that effect the way they communicate.”
Any business can sign up to be certified under the Dementia Care and Cure Initiative. The program is tailored to fit the needs of each company. To learn more, click here.