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#USAgingHere4You: Mary Ek

Mary Ek joined USAging in 2021 and serves as Director for Dementia Friendly America (DFA), Dementia Friends and Community Care Corps. In this role she supports Community Care Corps grantees, dementia-friendly communities and Dementia Friends administrators by providing technical assistance, facilitating learning collaboratives and webinars and managing the development and sharing of resources.
 
Prior to joining USAging, Mary spent 20 years in the field of education. During that time, she worked in special education, English as a second language (ESL) and elementary education as a high school director, education consultant and school workplace culture consultant. After working in education, she was asked to serve as the project manager for ACT on Alzheimer's, a Minnesota statewide dementia friendly initiative from which Dementia Friendly America was born.
 
“I'm so glad I said, ‘Yes!' back in 2011 and am even more thrilled to be part of USAging and Dementia Friendly America. It's so exciting to see how DFA has grown and to now be part of this amazing network!”
 
What Mary loves most about working at USAging is her colleagues. She says USAging has a great staff that is incredibly committed to supporting older adults and people with disabilities and thinks it is a privilege to work here. In addition, she hopes she can make a difference in the Aging Network by supporting DFA in realizing its vision of an America where individuals living with dementia and their care partners can live, engage and thrive in community no matter where they live.
 
“DFA has great resources and a growing network of individuals, communities and organizations committed to this work. If I don't have an answer, I can almost always connect folks with someone in the network who does!”
 
In addition to working at USAging, Mary is a birth and postpartum doula. Her favorite TV series is Call the Midwife, and her favorite books are Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl and Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.

To learn more about Dementia Friendly America, Dementia Friends and Community Care Corps, visit USAging's website, email info@dfamerica.org and info@communitycarecorps.org, or consider contacting Mary and her team. 
 
USAging's Dementia Friendly America, Dementia Friends and Community Care Corps Team

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USAging Fact: Learn about your peers’ work—and how it can fit into your agency’s goals! The AIA Awards recognizes successful and innovative programs that USAging members have developed to serve older adults. Get inspiration from our 2023 winners!