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Tulsa is a Dementia Friendly City

This article was archived on 7/28/2017

In a ceremony at City Hall, Mayor G.T. Bynum issued a proclamation making Tulsa the first city in Oklahoma to become a nationally recognized member of the Dementia Friendly America Network. 

The Dementia Friendly America Network is a nationwide initiative supported by Dementia Friendly America that helps individuals in early stages of cognitive decline to stay engaged in the community for a longer period of time. The program is volunteer driven and provides cost-free training, information and resources for businesses and organizations.

Based on 2015 Census information and current demographics, it is estimated that Tulsa has more than 6,000 individuals living with some form of dementia. Additionally, it typically takes three people, usually unpaid family members, to provide care for a person with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. To put this in perspective, the number of caregivers alone would almost fill the BOK Center to capacity. With members of the Baby Boomer generation aging, the number of Tulsans prime for dementia is expected to increase for at least the next three decades. 

On April 5, Mayor Bynum held a Dementia Friendly Tulsa Symposium 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 individuals, businesses and organizations throughout the city. Input from symposium attendees, including results from the sector-specific survey, will determine the roadmap for Tulsa to fully become a dementia-friendly community.  

“The motivation behind this initiative is to enhance access, awareness and inclusion for Tulsans suffering with dementia and other forms of cognitive decline,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “With the help of Dementia Friendly America experts and our symposium roadmap, our community will be able to implement simple, zero or low-cost, proven, best practices that help foster livability and vitality for individuals of all ages living with dementia.”

Mayor Bynum also announced that INCOG will be the City’s lead partner in Dementia Friendly Tulsa. “This partnership allows us to more rapidly tap into the expertise and existing resources already available in the Tulsa community,” Bynum added. "Clark Miller, Director of INCOG Area Agency on Aging, will chair the Dementia Friendly Tulsa Steering Committee.” 

The Dementia Friendly Tulsa steering committee will help provide guidance and support as Tulsa strives to better identify gaps in community services that inhibit those with cognitive decline. Steering Committee members include: 

  • Chief Michael Baker, Tulsa Fire Dept. EMS Division
  • Marquay Baul, Vice President of Private Banking, Arvest
  • Grace Burke, Director, Geriatric Programs, Morton Comprehensive Health Services
  • Greg Burn, Senior Vice President, Marketing, CommunityCare
  • Steve Dickie, CEO, Oklahoma Methodist Manor
  • Mark Fried, President and CEO, Alzheimer’s Association Oklahoma Chapter
  • Alysha Hiltbrand, Director of Human Resources, LIFE Senior Services
  • Lindsay Morris, Marketing Coordinator, Saint Simeon’s
  • John Peters, Senior Vice President, Senior Star
  • Captain Shellie Seibert, Tulsa Police Department
  • Christina Starzl-Mendoza, Community Development and Policy Assistant, City of Tulsa Mayor’s Office
  • Zack Stoycoff, Vice President of Government Affairs, Tulsa Regional Chamber
  • Dr. Michael Weisz, Department of Internal Medicine, OU-Tulsa

About Dementia Friendly Tulsa

The Dementia Friendly Tulsa initiative chips away at the social isolation that 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. Visit the Dementia Friendly Tulsa webpage for more information about this initiative. 

About 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. Visit the Dementia Friendly America website for more information.

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