Amarillo aims to be Dementia Friendly Community

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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Amarillo Convention and Visitor Council is partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association West Texas chapter to raise awareness about dementia, and to make and preserve memories, especially in the face of a disease which erases them.

“We know this is important, and we want to see people working together to try to make sure the people of Amarillo and the businesses of Amarillo understand this challenge and are kind of trying to improve it,” said Dan Quandt, Amarillo Convention & Visitor Council (CVC) senior vice president.

Quandt said being designated as a dementia-friendly community by Dementia Friendly America will showcase Amarillo as a place which fosters the ability of people living with dementia and helps them to thrive in their daily lives.

“People that are walking in and out of businesses here in Amarillo with dementia, we just have to be more aware of what that really is and how we deal with it,” said Quandt.

Ameka Mobley, the constituent events coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Association, West Texas Chapter, said their partnership with the CVC is one of a kind.

“They’re bringing a huge amount of awareness to this disease in this town,” said Mobley. “By them stepping forward and saying this is important, it’s going to change the lives of people in Amarillo who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and the families who are dealing with the disease.”

Mobley told us noticing symptoms of dementia—like wandering and being easily confused or frustrated—could save lives. She said she wants people to know that dementia is not part of normal aging and those with the disease need community support.

“People that are struggling with dementia are part of our community and they need to feel comfortable in our community when they’re in a restaurant. They need to live normal lives and not feel isolated,” said Mobley.

So far, only two Texas cities, Fort Worth and San Antonio, have been designated by Dementia Friendly America.

Quandt said by engaging with the community and expanding the effort, he hopes Amarillo will become number three.

Mobley said expanding the partnership with the CVC includes forming a task force to make sure Amarillo is embracing those struggling with dementia. She said they will work with banks, restaurants, and more to provide that support.

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