Alzheimer’s Association to Declare Longmeadow a Dementia Friendly Town
Organization to present Select Board with certificate at Dec. 3 meeting
LONGMEADOW—The Alzheimer’s Association will officially designate Longmeadow as a Dementia Friendly Town at the Select Board’s Dec. 3 meeting at Longmeadow High School at 7 p.m.
Heather Jagodowski, the Western Massachusetts program coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Association, said the declaration comes after a year’s worth of informative programs and presentations offered by the supporters of the Dementia Friendly Longmeadow initiative: Glenmeadow, the Longmeadow Council on Aging, JGS Lifecare, and the Alzheimer’s Association, and its volunteer Judy Yaffe, of Longmeadow.
“Over the past year, these organizations offered support, education and understanding to those living with dementia, care partners, concerned citizens and business workers,” Jagodowski said. “Following this declaration, those efforts will continue to be an ongoing practice.”
The Dementia Friendly Longmeadow initiative began in 2017, coinciding with a larger, countrywide initiative to have more villages, towns and cities be informed about dementia and be respectful to those individuals living with dementia and their families and caregivers.
In the past year, the four groups working on the certification—called the Core Four—organized events that would raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and other dementias and help members of the community to understand the signs and symptoms. Programs included virtual dementia tours, presentations on the disease’s 10 warning signs, panels with dementia experts and general information sessions.
Glenmeadow also committed to enhancing its focus on dementia care, creating a Caregivers Support Group and a Memory Café. The life plan community also put out a call for volunteer companions for residents living with dementia.
Glenmeadow holds two monthly Caregivers Support Groups for professionals and family members who are assisting someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia. They are held on the first Tuesday of the month from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and every third Thursday from noon to 1 p.m.
Memory Cafés offer social opportunities for people living with dementia and their caregivers or loved ones. They are held every fourth Wednesday of the month from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
After the Dementia Friendly Town designation is made by the Select Board on Dec. 3, ongoing programming will continue. The Alzheimer’s Association will also serve as a resource, offering education and training for employees in stores in town and at banks, transportation companies and other businesses that regularly serve people with dementia and their caregivers.
“The Dementia Friendly Longmeadow initiative is all about education, awareness and treating people with kindness and respect,” Jagodowski said. “Becoming a Dementia Friendly Town will positively impact so many of our neighbors.”
Established in 1884, Glenmeadow is a nonprofit, accredited life plan community; it provides independent and assisted living at its campus at 24 Tabor Crossing in Longmeadow and expanded Glenmeadow at Home services throughout greater Springfield.
To learn more about Glenmeadow and its history and offerings, visit www.glenmeadow.org.
In the 1800s, elderly individuals without family or means were sent to live at what was called “the poor farm.” In 1884, a group of civic leaders raised funds among themselves and other area families and purchased a house on Main Street in Springfield’s south end, establishing The Springfield Home for Aged Women. Quickly outgrowing that house, land was purchased on the corner of Chestnut and Carew streets, where a new home was constructed and opened in 1900. In 1960, the name was changed to Chestnut Knoll, and, in 1992, it began to admit men.
In 1993, the organization purchased a 23-acre parcel in Longmeadow to build a new community that would provide both independent living and assisted living in one building with various common areas. This was a new concept known as a continuing care retirement community. Existing residents from the old Chestnut Knoll property were moved to the new campus in 1997. Shortly after the move, the board voted to change its legal name to Glenmeadow to coincide with the name being used by the developer of the property.
Continuing care retirement communities are now referred to as life plan communities, responding to the needs of the aging population with new opportunities for care, plus creative, educational and personal exploration. Glenmeadow offerings, which include everything from senior living options and handyman services to personal care and travel programs, are provided at its Longmeadow campus and across the region through Glenmeadow at Home. Glenmeadow strives to fulfill its mission of nurturing the whole person in mind, body and spirit.