That doesn’t mean that Orange County businesses want to drive you to dementia. Rather, participating businesses have committed to their consumer-facing employees taking a two-hour training in how to interact with people who may have dementia. Those businesses will also display the program’s logo near their entrances.
The idea is to recognize that more than 5 million Americans—more than 1 in 9 older people—are living with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. They have unique needs, especially when they interact with the community at large. Participating businesses are signaling that they are sensitive to those needs.
DeWana Anderson, a Carrboro veterinarian, said in a Chapel Hill News article that she found the training useful in working with some of the older people who bring their pets in for help.
“They may know what they want to say and they may know how they want to say it,” she said, “but when stuff hits them too fast, it can flabbergast them.”
The article said the staff at The Animal Hospital “learned through the training to ask simple questions and provide clear instructions to someone who has trouble understanding.”
The Dementia-Friendly Orange County site has more information on how to participate in the program, including a 19-minute training video. It’s aimed at teaching businesses how to be dementia-friendly, but which contains a lot of good tips for anybody who interacts with folks with dementia.