Columbus/Bartholomew County has earned recognition by Dementia Friendly America® as a Dementia Friendly Community. With a strong coalition of partners, Dementia Friendly Bartholomew County will continue working toward making all our communities more accessible, accepting, and livable for residents living with all forms of dementia.

To mark this achievement, Saturday, August 19, 2023 was officially proclaimed “Dementia Friendly Awareness Day” by the Bartholomew County Commissioners and the Mayor of Columbus. In addition, Dementia Friendly Bartholomew County held a kick-off event at Yes Cinema on that day. Attendees learned about creating a community that is informed, safe and respectful of those living with dementia, featuring a panel discussion, Question-and-Answer session, interactive experiences including a walk-through brain presented by the IU Health Alzheimer’s and Dementia Resource Center.

In gaining this recognition, Bartholomew County joins communities across the United States in embarking on the Dementia Friendly process set forth by Dementia Friendly America (DFA). Dementia Friendly America is a national network of communities, organizations, and individuals seeking to ensure that communities across the U.S. are equipped to support people living with dementia as well as their care partners. Communities must meet DFA’s criteria before being granted this designation. By demonstrating strong cross-sector partnerships, inclusive leadership, a champion organization, and commitments to Dementia Friendly practices, goals, and progress tracking, Bartholomew County was granted the title “Dementia Friendly.”

Dementia Friendly Columbus/Bartholomew has established an Action Team comprised of local government, small businesses, faith communities, community-based organizations,
a community member living with dementia and a family care partner. DFCB is delivering Dementia Friendly training to local businesses and has secured funding to develop a Dementia Friendly signage project in collaboration with local churches. The Action Team will soon establish community support groups and memory cafés and plans to continue spearheading efforts to create more Dementia Friendly physical spaces in various community venues.

Led by Sue Lamborn of Thrive Alliance, the Dementia Friendly Action Team includes:
Linda Crane, Columbus Regional Hospital
Dan Mustard, Mill Race Center
Robin Hilber, City of Columbus
Sandy Allman, Bartholomew County Public Library
Heather Means, Griswold Home Care
Betsie Reed, Voelz, Reed, & Mount Law Office
Dr. Sally Madge, Community Member
Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Kirkpatrick, Fairlawn Presbyterian Church
Jill Tasker, Sandi’s Pop-Up Closet
Alesa McQueary, Silver Oaks Campus
Rev. Dr. Cliff Kirkpatrick, Community Member
Alicia Monroe, United Way of Bartholomew County

“We are pleased that Dementia Friendly America has recognized Bartholomew County as a Dementia-Friendly Community. Our community partners in this initiative have built on the strength of existing partnerships and collaborations to create a more welcoming environment,” said Lamborn.

For a timeline of Dementia Friendly activities in 2023 follow this LINK.