Jackson Madison County General Hospital (JMCGH) is one of four recipients to be awarded a grant from the Tennessee Department of Health for a pilot program that will implement dementia friendly community principles. The Tennessee Dementia Friendly Community initiative focuses on reducing the stigma associated with dementia, increasing public awareness of risk factors associated with cognitive decline, increasing early detection and accurate diagnosis of dementia, and supporting faith communities in addressing the impact of dementia in their respective congregations.
Dementia is a general term for memory loss and other mental functions that interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. According to the 2019 Alzheimer’s disease Facts and Figures report, minority communities suffer a disproportionate burden, older African Americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and older Hispanics are 1.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease than older whites who are not Hispanic.
In Tennessee, there are approximately 120,000 Tennesseans living with Alzheimer’s disease and other Dementias. Alzheimer’s disease is the fifth leading cause of death in Tennessee, and Tennessee has the fourth-highest Alzheimer’s death rate in the nation. The Tennessee Department of Health has developed a toolkit to help guide community efforts in raising awareness of risk factors associated with dementia, encouraging early detection and accurate diagnosis, and working with local community groups to support those living with dementia and their caregivers. JMCGH’s Senior Services Department will oversee the project focusing on populations in both Madison and Crockett Counties.
Jackson Madison County General Hospital’s Senior Services Department also provides a Resource Center for those with Alzheimer’s and other Dementias, a local caregiver support group, and an Annual Caregivers Conference. For more information on the TN Dementia Friendly Community Project and other efforts to educate and support those families experiencing Alzheimer’s and other Dementias, please contact JMCGH’s Senior Services Department, (731) 541-8757 or Regina.Smith@WTH.org.