Valley Program for Aging Services Harrisonburg-Rockingham receives Dementia Friendly recognition

Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 10:15 AM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The Harrisonburg-Rockingham region has been designated as a Dementia Friendly Community by Dementia Friendly America.

Valley Program for Aging Services, the local area agency for aging, began the process of earning the designation a little over a year ago. Through community engagement and a structured initiative of programs funded through Sentara and other organizations, the designation shows that the region has resources to support those living with dementia, and continue to do so.

“We received just recently a grant from Merck & Co. in the amount of $50,000, and that grant will help us continue this initiative by being able to have the funding to offer the dementia programs,” VPAS Director of Senior Services for Harrisonburg-Rockingham County Beth Bland said.

A Bowl of Good is the first restaurant in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County to be recognized by VPAS as dementia friendly. During the month of August, the staff took part in ‘Dementia Friends at Work’ training sessions, on how to make their business more accessible and inclusive.

“They were also able to problem-solve situations that they’ve run into about how to make the experience of a person living with dementia coming into their establishment making it more friendly and just a positive experience,” Bland said.

On September 14, VPAS will be hosting their Confident Caregiver Conference both virtually and at the Bridgewater Church of the Brethren. Bland said topics highlighted during the event will include self-care techniques and sessions on health and safety.

“Caregiving is a very hard job, and we want this to be a day that really uplifts caregivers,” Bland said.

For more information about the conference and VPAS, click here.

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