NEWS RELEASE — Funeral and memorial preparations are an important, yet sensitive time for families.  Being served with understanding, respect, and dignity is crucial.

Whether pre planning arrangements are being coordinated or memorial service plans are being made after a loss, seeking these services can be a difficult time for families.  It may be even more complex when a family member has dementia.

As a commitment to improved customer service in serving families affected by dementia, Helke Funeral Home and Cremation Services has participated in an educational presentation to become “Dementia Friendly.” Families can now look for the “purple angel” window decal on display, symbolizing that staff have received this training to raise awareness about dementia and reduce the stigma that has been associated with memory loss.

This free presentation is offered by the Central Wisconsin Dementia Network, a collaboration of the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Central Wisconsin, the Alzheimer’s Association, and other community partners and volunteers.

The training explores the difference between healthy aging and the changes that may occur as someone develops Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.  Participants also learn the 10 early signs of Alzheimer’s disease as well as helpful tips to provide good customer service and create positive interactions when communicating with someone who may have memory loss or dementia.  The training supports creating environments that will encourage those experiencing memory loss, and their caregivers, to maintain their social networks and community involvement.

The Dementia Friendly Training for businesses and organizations is free of charge and can be tailored to fit the needs of the group being trained. It is available in 30 minute or 60 minute sessions.

When a business or organization completes the training, they will receive a window decal and certificate that they can display, signifying that they have participated in the training. The businesses and organizations that participate will also be listed in a local directory of “dementia friendly” agencies and will receive ongoing education and support to keep leadership and staff updated on dementia friendly practices.

Creating an environment where those living with dementia and their caregivers are met with support, encouragement, connection, and resources requires efforts throughout the community in the many business and organizational settings that serve Wausau residents– we all play a role.

To schedule a training for your business or organization, contact the Aging & Disability Resource Center of Central Wisconsin at 715-261-6070 or 888-486-9545.