Nearly 50,000 people in Cincinnati are living with dementia. The number is expected to triple by 2050, but will we be ready?

Three years ago, an initiative led by Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS) called Dementia Inclusive Cincinnati, was envisioned by our CEO Laura Lamb to support those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia and their care partners. The goal is to establish Cincinnati as the most dementia-inclusive city in America by 2025.

ERS, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, and The Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Cincinnati have expanded their popular Memory Cafés to offer adults with dementia more opportunities to socialize and partake in a wide array of activities. Memory Cafés are not a form of respite care. Instead, they offer a safe, comfortable space to connect with others in similar situations, and caregivers are welcome to join.

Brandi and Bob, for example, attend the Memory Cafés weekly and look forward to experiencing new activities. Bob did not think he would like yoga, but at a recent Memory Café, he tried it and loved how it made him feel.

Dementia Inclusive Cincinnati and ERS were awarded the Aging Service Impact Award by LeadingAge Ohio. The award honors individuals and organizations that embody excellence in aging services leadership that are models of quality and innovation and are making outstanding contributions.

In February, ERS announced the creation of the Center for Memory Support and Inclusion, hiring Shannon Braun as its director. ERS, an innovator in providing care, support, and education for those living with cognitive loss, and their care partners, launched the Center to be the leading resource for the community it serves.

Braun will manage all of ERS’ memory support efforts, including the oversight of its living environments, therapies, and training programs for staff, along with its community outreach programs, under the umbrella of its new Center for Memory Support and Inclusion.

“ERS is proud to launch our Center for Memory Support and Inclusion to help our neighbors in the city of Cincinnati,” said Laura Lamb, president and CEO of ERS. “This comprehensive approach to memory care is a first of its kind in the city, and we look forward to expanding our offerings to the other communities we serve in the future.

“Considering her extensive experience, combined with the hands-on knowledge she earned as an early-stage program coordinator with the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Cincinnati, we expect Shannon to be a wonderful leader of our Center for Memory Support & Inclusion, including the Dementia Inclusive Cincinnati movement where she’s successfully created and hosted Memory Cafés throughout the city,” Lamb added.

The launch of the Center for Memory Support and Inclusion, and the expansion of Dementia Inclusive Cincinnati are made possible by a recent $250,000 grant provided by the Sutphin Family Foundation and an individual donor. The grants will support individuals living with cognitive loss and their care partners where there is a gap in education, resources and care options.

Episcopal Retirement Services is located at 3870 Virginia Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45227. For more information, call 513.271.9610 or visit www.episcopalretirement.com.