Mile Bluff was recently awarded a $7,500 Rural Health Outreach grant from
MultiPlan, an organization that supports health insurance companies and
subscribers. Using the generous gift, Mile Bluff Medical Center will form
a coalition with other community agencies - such as the Alzheimer’s
& Dementia Alliance and the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC)
- to establish dementia-friendly communities and educational opportunities.
"We're excited about this grant on many levels,” said Martha
Airth-Kindree, Mile Bluff’s grant writer. “A dementia-friendly
community involves individuals listening, showing respect and lending
a helping hand. Small steps do make a difference. They can build into
broader community efforts involving partnerships with social services,
law enforcement, local government, businesses, civic groups and community
The population of elderly individuals in Juneau County is 3.4 percent higher
than the state average of 16.1 percent. It is estimated that 559 of those
seniors are currently living with a dementia diagnosis. These individuals,
along with their caregivers, may find it difficult to navigate through
the community as the disruptive dementia symptoms begin to occur in public
more frequently. In most cases, the public is not well versed on dementia
disorders, and has not been equipped with the proper tools to best interact
with those living with these conditions. The unfortunate result of this
lack of understanding often leads to isolation for those who have dementia.
The number of people impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and related
dementias is expected to increase as the Baby Boomer generation ages.
With this in mind, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is working
with partners across the state to develop and implement a new plan that
creates a ‘dementia-capable’ Wisconsin. The goals of this
plan include increasing understanding and reducing the stigmas associated
with dementia, as well as improving and expanding support and education
for family caregivers.
A dementia-friendly community is made up of businesses and neighbors who
recognize the signs and understand the needs and actions of those with
dementia. In such a community, people with dementia live as independently
as possible, and are engaged in activities. With the help of the MultiPlan
grant, Mile Bluff will work to address these dementia-friendly community
goals through an educational seminar for caregivers and community members,
along with the design and implementation of a ‘memory café’
which would be set to be up and operating in Mauston at the start of 2019.
The café will provide a social gathering place for individuals
living with dementia, and their care partners. Mile Bluff and other area
agencies are also planning an educational seminar for the community in
the spring of 2019.
Mile Bluff would like to thank MultiPlan for the grant. The staff looks
forward to partnering with the ADRC of Eagle Country and the Alzheimer’s
& Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin, in creating a dementia-friendly
The coalition is looking for input from community members as well. If you
or a family member have been impacted by dementia, or if you would like
to learn more about becoming a ‘dementia-friendly’ business,
please contact Martha Airth-Kindree at 608-847-1495 for more information.