Dementia Friendly Tulsa is an independent, nonprofit initiative. The volunteer-driven program – part of Dementia Friendly America – provides information and training that helps Tulsans implement simple, proven best practices that foster livability and vitality.
Dementia Friendly Tulsa’s resources and tools, which are tailored for specific community sectors, especially benefit the growing number of people living with dementia and other cognitive impairments. Social stigma and lack of public awareness often makes life difficult for those living with dementia, as well as for their families and caregivers.
In 2017, Mayor Bynum committed to designating Tulsa as a dementia friendly community – the first city in Oklahoma to do so.
The Mayor’s Dementia Friendly Symposium introduced the initiative on April 5, 2017, allowing Tulsa to join other leading U.S. and global cities that strive to value each member of their community. Tulsa leaders were challenged to promote a culture of awareness that enhances life for older residents and benefits people, businesses and organizations throughout the city. Input from symposium attendees, including results from sector-specific surveys, will determine the roadmap for Tulsa to fully become a dementia friendly community.
As a dementia friendly city, Tulsa seeks to enhance access, awareness and inclusion so those with dementia can be socially and financially engaged in the community for as long as possible.
The program’s desired outcomes include: improved quality of life, reduced stigma, minimized fraud and abuse, encouragement of earlier diagnosis, and advanced planning for support and care needs for those with dementia.
About 6,000 Tulsans over age 65 are estimated to have dementia, based on 2015 U.S. Census demographics and 2017 Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures formulas. Their caregivers – often sandwich-generation family members – are estimated to number 18,000.
The growing number of Baby Boomers in the U.S. – those born between 1946 and 1964 – are prime candidates for dementia. Tulsa expects to see a growth wave in its Boomer generation during the coming three decades. Dementia, however, is not limited to older generations. More than 200,000 people in the U.S. as young as age 30 are diagnosed with Younger Onset Alzheimer’s.
From 60 percent to 80 percent of all dementia is Alzheimer’s, a degenerative and always fatal disease. Yet, Alzheimer’s progressive impact on cognitive skills can take from four to 20 years. That means those with dementia are able to shop, participate in community activities, worship, play, handle business transactions, and enjoy fairly full social lives for much longer than society acknowledges.
The Dementia Friendly Tulsa initiative chips away at the social isolation people with dementia experience. It encourages respectful inclusion, access, and engagement across all community sectors. It is a means to transform Tulsa through understanding and compassion from all in our community.
Dementia Friendly America
Dementia Friendly America is a multi-sector, national collaborative of more than 35 leading organizations that are catalyzing a movement across the United States to improve opportunities and outcomes for a growing number of people with dementia, their families and care partners.
Dementia Friendly America was announced during the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. The program was inspired by similar successful initiatives in the global community: England, Japan, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Australia, and the state of Minnesota in the U.S.
Learn more at Dementia Friendly America.