Cambridge celebrated at legislative reception

A community-wide initiative in Cambridge was part of a larger celebration of ACT on Alzheimer’s on Monday, March 3 at the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation in St. Paul.

Attendees including state legislators, community activists and business leaders were updated on ACT’s progress, accomplishments and the work that is yet to come.

Minnesota House of Representatives Speaker Paul Thissen joined health experts, service providers and action community leads to talk about the impact of dementia on the state and the new initiatives being developed by ACT on Alzheimer’s.

Cambridge is one of seven communities throughout Minnesota that is working with ACT to become “dementia-friendly.”

A key component of ACT on Alzheimer’s is the community-based worked.

The goal is to provide community support for those with dementia and their caregivers, allowing people to live in their communities for as long as possible. The program Monday served as an update to legislators on the work that Cambridge and other communities across the state are doing and on the other ACT initiatives.

In 2009, the Minnesota Legislature charged the Alzheimer’s Disease Working Group to find solutions to the state’s growing Alzheimer’s crisis. The group recommended the creation of ACT on Alzheimer’s to address the issue on a community level.

ACT is a statewide collaborative of volunteers from all community sectors. It is working on several goals, including early identification of the disease and support for caregivers.

Since its beginning, ACT on Alzheimer’s has used the legislative charge to garner engagement and leverage significant funding from major partners including Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Medica Foundation.

This funding has allowed ACT to offer grants of up to $18,000 for new communities to join the collaborative, anticipating 27 communities working on becoming dementia-friendly by the end of 2014.