All Things O’Neill – February

If you were in a situation out in public where you noticed someone was having a hard time remembering where to find the milk at the grocery store, for example, or how to cross the street, would you be able and willing to offer assistance?

Dementia is not a normal part of aging. It is caused by diseases of the brain. But there are many older folks, including our friends, neighbors, family, maybe even ourselves, who are dealing with the effects of dementia. It is possible to live a fulfilling life with dementia. It is also possible for those of us on the outside to become a lifeline for those who are experiencing obstacles.

The O’Neill Center is proud to partner with the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging and Dementia Friends Ohio to offer training and programs, not only for those individuals living with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, but for members of the wider community who may be wondering how to notice the signs and when and how to help. We also want to help reduce the stigma associated with memory loss, cognitive impairment and other issues related to dementia.

Dementia Friends is a training session that we offer, which can be specialized for different groups: First responders, faith communities, legal and financial advisors, libraries, veterans, those living alone, and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The end goal is to be able to establish a more Dementia Inclusive Community. What is a Dementia Inclusive Community? Keep reading.

  • Residents of the community are aware of and have learned about dementia.
  • People living with dementia continue to make decisions about their own lives.
  • Health care professionals are educated about dementia and assist care partners with needed services.
  • Businesses have staff who understand dementia and know how to communicate effectively and provide extra assistance as needed.
  • The buildings are accessible and enable people living with dementia to move about safely.
  • Social groups are welcoming of members living with dementia and their care partners.

We would like to work with first responders, local businesses and civic groups to schedule a dementia friends training. Please contact us if you think this is something you would like to learn more about.

Our Care Consultation is also an invaluable service that can help individuals, families and caregivers navigate the rocky roads of dementia. As part of our social services programs, Care Consultation is a telephone and/or email-based care coaching program – which is entirely free thanks to our partnership with BRI.

One of our Care Consultants will:

  • Provide information and advice on what matters most to individuals and families,
  • Help learn and get connected to health and community services,
  • Act as an organizer, helping to prioritize concerns,
  • Give information to make informed decisions,
  • Develop a step-by-step plan specific to individual and family needs that will guide them through the care journey,
  • Stay in touch with individuals and families so adjustments can be made as situations change,
  • Assist with getting other family and friends involved,
  • Serve as an emotional support when overwhelmed or faced with challenges.

To learn about Dementia Friends Ohio, visit

To learn about Care Consultation, visit

Also please call the O’Neill Center if you are interested in scheduling a training or enrolling in any of our programs.

Let’s work together to end the stigma and remember, there is more to the person than the dementia!

Erin O’Neill is Development Coordinator for The O’Neill Center, located at 333 Fourth St. in Marietta. She can be reached at or 740-373-3914.