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IA2 Becomes the First Dementia Friends USA Sublicensee Serving American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Communities

The International Association for Indigenous Aging (IA2) and n4a are pleased to announce that IA2 is a new national sublicensee for the Dementia Friends USA program. Dementia Friends USA, which is administered by n4a, is part of a global movement focused on changing the way people act, think, and talk about dementia.

IA2 partnered with master trainers from the University of Nevada, Reno this week to pilot the first information session and Champion training at the National Indian Council on Aging's 2021 Elders Conference. The pilot sessions featured new Dementia Friends content, revised and adapted for use with American Indians and Alaska Natives.
 
“The Dementia Friends program brings a new opportunity for tribes and urban-Indian serving organizations to help educate people on dementia and Alzheimer's, featuring simple steps people can take to help reduce stigma, and promote ways to reduce risk. We are honored that n4a has provided us this opportunity," said IA2 Executive Director, Dave Baldridge. “We believe the ability to serve as a national sublicensee will reduce barriers to participation and allow us to work with tribal communities in ways that are responsive to their unique needs.”
 
As a national sublicensee, IA2 will host training sessions to allow individuals to serve as Dementia Friends Champions in their own communities. A Champion attends an in-depth training to then hold information sessions in their community to raise awareness about dementia, share resources and encourage dementia-friendly personal actions and commitments.
 
IA2 worked with various partners to adapt and update the original Dementia Friends training materials to be more reflective of tribal communities. Master trainer Dr. Jennifer Carson from the University of Nevada, Reno, and director of Dementia Friendly Nevada member states, "The materials adapted for the program offered by IA2 were developed through an intensive, inclusive process that included feedback from tribally enrolled members and tribal allies from across the country.”
 
Carson and her team have offered Dementia Friends information sessions and Champion training across Nevada, including work with other tribes. "We look forward to serving as the training arm for this initiative alongside IA2," says Carson. “Incorporating these new training and resource materials, which now better reflect American Indian and Alaska Native cultures, values, and communities, is an incredible improvement to a program we already know makes a difference in communities.”
 
“We are so pleased to have partnered with the International Association for Indigenous Aging to help foster greater awareness about dementia among American Indian and Alaska Native communities,” said Sandy Markwood, CEO, n4a and Co-Chair, Dementia Friendly America. “With its acquisition of the Dementia Friends sublicense for American Indian and Alaska Native communities, IA2 will be the first Dementia Friends sublicensee with a program specifically focused on meeting the needs of elders in tribal communities. In doing so, IA2 will develop and bring a culturally relevant Dementia Friends program to tribal elders who experience higher rates of dementia than the general population.”
 
A schedule of upcoming online Dementia information and Champion trainings hosted by IA2 and the UNR team becomes available this fall.
 
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