TRIAD and Dementia Friends Programs work with the community to protect seniors
Do you have an elderly neighbor or someone you know who perhaps seems a little “off”? Perhaps they wander a bit, have trouble remembering things, or appear confused sometimes? It could be a more serious problem than normal aging — they may suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Since many Fauquier seniors continue to live alone and far from family members, it’s important that we as a community maintain awareness of their well-being so that we can be of some help. An important part of that can be familiarizing ourselves with dementia’s signs, symptoms, and stages.
The statistics for dementia are sobering. According to the World Health Organization, it is estimated that 50 million older adults are affected by dementia worldwide, and that number is expected to almost triple by 2050. As a community, dementia education, awareness, and advocacy are important as the aging population of Fauquier County increases.
Dementia Friends is a national organization designed to educate the public about dementia, and support and serve those who are living with the disease and their family, friends, and care partners. The organization emphasizes that each individual can make a difference at a local level by working to create dementia-friendly communities. Dementia Friends has created a program to educate the population and has trained representatives throughout the country to present information sessions in their own communities.
Stacey Harvey, owner of FirstLight Home Care in Warrenton, is a Certified Dementia Practitioner as well as a Certified Dementia Friends trainer. She is part of the Piedmont Dementia Education Committee that holds free training sessions in the community to educate businesses and individuals to recognize the signs of the different stages of dementia, how to interact with a person living with dementia, and what to do to get help. The program is free, and anyone can attend. It is an excellent program for individuals, businesses, and groups — for instance, church groups or Home Owners Associations — to attend. Stacey is committed to getting the word out about dementia in our community and will come anywhere locally to present the free program. For information on Becoming a “Dementia Friend” please contact Aging Together at 540-829-6405 or agingtogether.org, or attend a scheduled session on January 21 at 9:30 a.m. at the PATH Foundation in Warrenton.
Seniors can be vulnerable in many ways, and Fauquier County, thanks in large part to Lt. Richard MacWelch and a number of community partners, is fortunate to have a program in place to assist seniors with safety and protection as they age in our community.
Fauquier County TRIAD is a group comprised of community partners and local law enforcement with the goal of protecting our growing elderly population and keeping them informed and safe.
On the first Wednesday of every month, TRIAD holds free educational workshops for seniors, caregivers, volunteers, those who work in senior service provider industry, and anyone else who is interested.
In addition to educating seniors on very important topics focused specifically on their needs, there are other benefits to seniors attending the programs. It gets them out and socializing, which combats loneliness and isolation. It builds trust and confidence between seniors and law enforcement, so they are more likely to reach out when they need help, which reduces their susceptibility to victimization and crime. They also meet other community members who are experienced with seniors issues who may be good resources for them.
Range of topics:
- Online, phone and in-person home service scams
- Online dating (yes, this is a thing for seniors!)
- Home safety and fall prevention
- Gun Safety
- Rebuilding Credit
- Senior abuse, financial abuse
- Legal matters: Powers of Attorney, guardianships
- Medication safety
- Seniors mental health, depression, and suicide
- Self Defense
TRIAD is run by a SALT council, an acronym for Seniors And Law Enforcement Together. In Fauquier County, the SALT council consists of Lt. Rick MacWelch of the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Department, Mark and Stacey Harvey of FirstLight Home care, Ellen Phipps of Aging Together, Sophia Cameron of The Villa, and representatives from the Rappahannock Rapidan Community Services Board. Casey Shelton of FirstLight Home Care said, “I really have so much praise for Lt. MacWelch, he has done so much in this county in making TRIAD work.”
- Schedule: First Wednesday of every month, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
- Location: Fauquier Senior Center, 430 E Shirley Avenue, Warrenton
- Information: 540-347-7729 or 540-579-7570 or facebook.com/fauquiercountytriad
- Lunch is offered after each program. RSVP to 540-347-7729 required, $1-$3 suggested contribution