Every day at Saint Simeon’s, we offer memory care and support for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. We were the first senior community in Tulsa to provide dementia care when our ground-breaking Memory Center opened in 1994. At that time, Alzheimer’s was a little-known term. Saint Simeon’s board of trustees conducted years of research, which resulted in a memory care unit that has a cutting-edge design, keeping people with dementia in mind in every detail, from lighting, to paint colors, to wide hallways. When staff at Saint Simeon’s heard about Tulsa becoming a Dementia Friendly city, it was something we naturally wanted to support.
Recognizing the Signs of Dementia
It’s likely that even if you don’t have a loved one with dementia, you still come across someone who has dementia every week, or you may recognize some of the signs of dementia in those around you. Maybe it’s the lady lost in the aisles at the grocery store. Maybe it’s the man in front of you in line at the bank. People with dementia can still be thriving members of society. They may just need a little help from time to time.
Tulsa: A Dementia Friendly City
Mayor GT Bynum announced on June 30 that Tulsa has become a Dementia Friendly city, in affiliation with Dementia Friendly America. The driving force behind Dementia Friendly America is to help foster communities that are more aware of people with dementia. The numbers related to dementia are staggering. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in the last five years of life, the costs of a person with dementia, on average, total more than $287,000. One in 10 people age 65 and older (has Alzheimer's dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association estimates.
In addition, about one-third of people 85 and older have Alzheimer’s. In Tulsa in particular, about 6,000 Tulsans over age 65 are estimated to have dementia, based on 2015 U.S. Census demographics and 2017 Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures. Their caregivers are estimated to number 18,000, enough people to fill the BOK Center. The Dementia Friendly Tulsa initiative chips away at the social isolation people with dementia experience. It encourages respectful inclusion, access and engagement across all community sectors. Overall, the goal of a Dementia Friendly City is kindness. If you recognize someone displaying the signs of dementia, such as seeing someone lost in the grocery store, don’t leave it up to the employees to help. If you have a neighbor who has dementia, what can you do to extend a helping hand?
To learn more about Dementia Friendly Tulsa, visit dementiafriendlytulsa.com.
For more information about dementia care at the Memory Center at Saint Simeon’s, please contact us today.