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Since its establishment in 1960, Cherokee Health Systems (CHS) has provided care to medically vulnerable and underserved populations, including older adults and individuals living with dementias. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 5.8 million people in the United States have Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Approximately 120,000 individuals in Tennessee are living with Alzheimer’s disease.

In alignment with our mission to provide high-quality care for older adults, CHS is committed to educating communities about dementia in order to increase understanding, decrease stigma, fear and confusion, and help people living with dementia be as safe, active, and independent as possible.

To this end, CHS is honored to serve as the Tennessee sublicensee for the Dementia Friends USA program. Dementia Friends USA is a global movement that’s changing the way people think, act, and talk about dementia.

You can join this movement by becoming a Dementia Friend.

What is a Dementia Friend?

A Dementia Friend is anyone who watches a series of online videos or attends an information session (virtual or in-person) to learn more about what it’s like to live with dementia, then takes action to show their understanding and support. Together, Dementia Friends create dementia-friendly communities. Dementia-friendly communities are compassionate places where those with dementia can live with respect and dignity. 

How do I become a Dementia Friend?

There are two ways to become a Dementia Friend.

1) Visit Dementia Friends USA, watch a series of online videos, and commit to supporting those living with dementia in your community. Each video provides basic information about the struggles a person with dementia may experience and what one can do to help in a variety of community settings. In less than 20 minutes, you can watch the entire video series and receive an online certificate naming you as a Dementia Friend! 

2) Attend an in-person or virtual Information Session that offers more detailed information about dementia. During the discussion, you will learn what dementia is, what it’s like to live with dementia, and some tips for communicating with people who have dementia. Everyone who attends is asked to put their new understanding of dementia into action that can help someone living in your community. The action can be as big or as small as you choose - every action counts!  If you are interested in attending a Dementia Friends Information Session, please email dementiafriendstn@cherokeehealth.com to learn about the date and time of the next session. 

Thank you for rising to the challenge and helping support those living with dementia in our community.

The CHS Age-Friendly Team