Public Awareness & Education

 The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), Aging & Independence Services (AIS), and Outreach & Education staff in partnership with community partners, lead the charge to educate the public and provide comprehensive information about Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) to the community. The purpose of this group is to inform San Diegans of dementia and its impact and to raise awareness of community resources that can help. Countywide efforts include face-to-face presentations at numerous community venues; TV, print and social media campaigns; electronic announcements and newsletters; and the development and distribution of various online resources. Topics include the warning signs of dementia, early diagnosis of ADRD, specific supports for caregivers, and strategies for working with people living with dementia.

The shared commitment between AIS and community partners to increase public awareness of ADRD and its impact on communities has enabled the development of new efforts and the reach of new audiences. Activities include:

  • A Dementia-Friendly work-group (Dementia-Friendly Theme Team) was formed and focuses on the needs of residents with dementia, as well as their caregivers. In 2018, the Dementia-Friendly Theme Team encouraged community members to complete the short, online Dementia Friends training at www.DementiaFriendsUSA.org.
  • A communication tip card was developed for caregivers to use when they are in the community with a companion with dementia. The card has tips and reminders on how to compassionately engage with a person with dementia.
  • A Dementia Friends Kick Off Week was held in January of 2020 consisting of four Dementia Friends Sessions led by trained local leaders (Dementia Friends Champions). A total of 54 community members and professionals took part in 60-minute sessions to become Dementia Friends, learning about dementia and ways to support those who are impacted by dementia.
  • HHSA was recently awarded a grant from the California Department of Public Health to advance Healthy Brain Initiative goals. The new grant, started in July 2020, will build upon The Alzheimer’s Project and support the goals in the Roadmap for Aging in San Diego County (Aging Roadmap). The grant goals include: 1) develop an updated prevalence estimate for ADRD in our region; 2) integrate ADRD into local public health planning; 3) develop tools for clinicians to educate patients about brain health and cognitive impairment; 4) raise awareness of the risk of abuse for individuals with dementia; 5) educate caregivers on dementia resources; and 6) work with health systems to implement sustainable policies and procedures for best practices in clinical care.
  • HHSA’s participation in a national webinar hosted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Alzheimer’s Association, and National Association of Counties (NACo). HHSA’s presentation highlighted local efforts to educate the community, develop policies, mobilize partnerships, and assure a competent workforce to address the challenges brought on by Alzheimer’s disease.
  • San Diego/Imperial Geriatric Education Center’s (SDIGEC) grant extension which has enabled various Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) partner organizations to continue their respective efforts to educate San Diegans about Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s San Diego produced nearly 40 different advertisements across television, print, and radio channels as part of their ongoing “Local Famous Faces” public awareness campaign. They also held over 100 trainings in 2018, including an 8-week series on early memory loss. Southern Caregiver Resource Center provided thirteen family caregiver trainings and provided a Spanish Caregiver Conference in October 2018. Champions for Health provided online trainings on the Physician Guidelines to 69 providers, and 500 clinicians were given a hardcopy of the handbook. George G. Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Centers, Inc. also created a free, online training on dementia specifically tailored for residential caregivers.

For more information about Public Awarness and Education, please contact Matthew Parcasio at Matthew.Parcasio@sdcounty.ca.gov or Manpreet  Mumman at Manpreet.Mumman@sdcounty.ca.gov.