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Dementia Friendly

Monday, January 28, 2019
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Lutheran Church of the Foothills Activity Room
(Territory and Craycroft)
a special presentation by

Morgen Hartford, Regional Director
Jodi Goalstone, Regional Leadership Committee
Alzheimer’s Association, Desert Southwest Chapter

Do you know what it means to live in a dementia-friendly community?

Attend this important information session
on an ambitious initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia by transforming the way our community thinks, talks and acts about the disease.

Dementia Friends Arizona is big project that asks for a small commitment: an hour of your time to learn how to become a Dementia Friend.  Learn how dementia-friendly neighborhoods can help us all positively age in place.

Other Dementia-Friendly News from SNAP

SNAP’s own Tiny Read and Lu Salisbury participated in a “Virtual Dementia Tour” at La Cholla, and Tiny provided this reportback:
As the humans around the world enjoy increasing longevity, the incidence of dementia continues to rise. SNAP is part of a local and national effort to move communities toward dementia-friendliness.

Over 10 years, SNAP programming has helped reduce the stigma of dementia and create a “dementia-friendly” culture, including: Education programs about dementia; Caregiver relief volunteer service; senior living facility tours; monthly Caregiver Support Group meetings; participation in annual Walk and referrals to our local Alzheimer’s Association.

But what is a “dementia-friendly” community? It’s one that is “…informed, safe and respectful of individuals with the disease, their families and caregivers, & provides supportive options that foster quality of life.” Recently, The Fountains at La Cholla offered the Virtual Dementia tour to 14 business & nonprofit community leaders. The participants(including realtors, fiduciaries, caregivers, and two SNAP board members) who experienced what it might be like to live with dementia—at least for a ten minute period!

Outside a darkened room, each tour participant donned dark glasses with pinpoint vision, earmuffs playing loud music, uncomfortable, prickly foot pads and large, clumsy gloves. Instructions were given to each participant:

1.      Find and fold four towels

2.      Find and put on a necktie

3.      Find and count out $.17 and place the money in a purse

4.      Put on a jacket and zip it up

Between darkness, unfamiliar surroundings, blaring music, limited visual acuity and a steady stream of strobe lights, not one person in the group was able to accomplish all the tasks within the allowable time frame of five minutes. Some participants could not even hear the instructions and the docent/observer was not able to repeat the instructions.

The tour exposed the group to a multi-sensory experience intended to build a greater understanding of dementia. Several group members who participated expressed confusion, frustration, disappointment and anxiety. All came away with a greater awareness of what it was like to live with dementia—albeit for a very limited time—as well as how difficult it must be for caregivers to work with persons who have memory loss and /or confusion plus multiple health issues accompanying the dementia.

Learn more in 2019: January 28, 2019, SNAP’s Education program will include a Dementia Friends presentation.

Learning Skills to Reduce Clutter

SNAP area residents gathered to discuss hoarding behaviors that impact safety and other aspects of quality of life. Pima Council on Aging Client Services Specialist Jennifer Caragan led the discussion that explored ways to declutter both emotions and physical surroundings.

A workshop about Hoarding disorder education, to learn how to organize, purge and end the cycle of hoarding (HOPE) will be held for 10 weeks at the Abrams Public Health Center in Tucson. Registration is August 21, 2018, from 4:30pm – 5:30pm. More information will be posted shortly.

Photos below taken during SNAP’s June 25 Educational session. Thanks to PCOA’s Jennifer Caragan for leading the SNAP program!

Update (April 16, 2018): Monica Surfaro Spigelman has joined the SNAP community. Read more in the latest edition of SNAPshots.

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 3.04.21 PM


Over the last few months, many have participated in a game called “My Gift of Grace”. My group used it to open up some great discussions on different topics. Many of the topics had us reminiscing about past memories as well as addressing some tough subjects regarding health and legal issues faced during our later years.

The game flowed wonderfully into our November educational session: “The Truth About Advanced Directives” — “What are MY Options?” with speaker Ron Zack, an elder law attorney with the Udall Law Firm of Tucson. So what exactly are Advanced Directives and why do we need them? Known as Life Care Planning documents, Health Care Directives or Advanced Directives, these forms are important for directing your choices about health care. Distributed during the session was an information packet from the office of the Arizona Attorney General, Mark Brnovich. Here’s how he defines Life Care Planning in his introduction. “All states have laws that allow us to make future health care treatment decisions now so that if we become incapacitated and unable to make these decisions later, our family and doctors will know what medical care we want or do not want. State laws also allow us to appoint a person to make future health care treatment decisions for us if we become incapacitated, since we cannot predict what future decisions might be necessary. These laws are called ‘advance directives’ or ‘health care directives.’” There’s a lot of information in this packet – contact SNAP if you want a copy or go to and search under Life Care Planning.

In addition to Advanced Directives, Ron Zack reviewed other legal documents that should be in place and reviewed every 2 to 3 years; these include Last Will and Testament, Living Wills, Trust Agreements, Powers of Attorney and HIPAA Authorization. Preparation for all these documents takes much time and thought and should be discussed with family members. As older adults, this is our “homework” – truly a gift we can give ourselves and our loved ones in the form of peace of mind.

Recommended Reading that may help in this process: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande.

Home and Garden Tour Follow-up

DSCN0452Already into our hot, summer months with the monsoon rains around the corner and missing our winter volunteers! We had a wonderful get together for those of us involved with the Home and Garden Tour in March. We couldn’t have had a better setting or weather for the Pre-Tour for volunteers. Thank you to our garden hosts and to all those who provided an abundance of wonderful food, for the volunteers who took the time to help with the event, for those who provided their homes for the tour, for our company sponsors and for all those that participated on the tour in support of SNAP. What a great opportunity as we continue to support this neighbors-helping-neighbors program.

DSCN0444So what is the purpose of the Home and Garden Tour? It is an avenue for raising funds and support for SNAP. But more importantly and what was so evident this year, was the opportunity for all the volunteers, guests and clients to come together and celebrate – celebrate our neighborhood and see what some of our neighbors have done as we tour their home and garden. No – we are not a significant historical district of Tucson and a lot of our homes are not gigantic showcases like other well established house and garden tours. But that’s not the point. We want to foster a neighborhood where we can enjoy growing old together and stand beside those that may need a helping hand.


Why does that require fund raising? As SNAP has grown, needs other than volunter services in the home have emerged. Residents need access to community resources and information about moving out of their homes and to whom to turn to for caregiver support. There are questions about Medicare, insuDSCN0464rance problems and what legal paperwork should be in place for wills and powers of attorney – the list goes on. No – SNAP doesn’t have all the answers but we can find out many. SNAP continues the process of organizing educational sessions that address some of the more pressing issues. In order to provide and advertise these programs, funds are needed. We’ll be writing about some of these educational classes in future blogs.

If you have any thoughts for SNAP regarding the Home and Garden Tour, educational meetings or questions on services, please feel free to email us at We’d love to hear from you!


You’ll want to watch this APM video about SNAP!

You’ll enjoy this special six-minute-long television feature on SNAP produced by Tony Paniagua of Arizona Public Media. It focuses on one of our good-humored clients for whom SNAP provides essential services, and whose story graphically highlights the value we add to our community. You can see this TV feature on YouTube on this link: APM SNAP Video.

Don’t forget to have your speakers turned on!