Dementia Spotlight Foundation bolsters local outreach programs by joining forces with Amy's Place and Dementia Mentors
Dementia Spotlight Foundation (DSF) – an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization working toward a world that fully embraces the rights and needs of individuals and families living with dementia-related disorders – today announces celebrated local nonprofit Amy’s Place, home of Caring Together in Hope, and the international coalition of people living with dementia group Dementia Mentors will unite for the cause under the DSF umbrella. The organizations will work together to bolster service to Alzheimer’s and dementia communities by providing multi-state support through necessary resources to reinforce the message that life does not end after a dementia diagnosis.
“Dementia Spotlight Foundation was born out of my own experience navigating my father’s diagnosis. For the past five years, we have remained steadfast in our commitment to finding new ways to create a community that is welcoming, safe and comfortable for individuals experiencing dementia – as well as their loved ones and caregivers,” says Executive Director Whitney DeMarlo Oeltmann. “This joining of forces signifies a new era as we work toward finding more opportunities to help our rapidly expanding network with the support and guidance of our newest executive team members.”
For the past five years, Amy’s Place served as a dementia-friendly center designed to enable those caring for someone with cognitive impairment a place to socialize, connect and navigate the many resources available to them. Being the first and only free-standing memory café provider in the U.S. at its inception, the organization was restricted to serving the Roswell and surrounding areas only. By joining forces with DSF, the larger organization will further expand awareness and reach of the memory cafes throughout the state.
“From an initial encounter with leadership at a Dementia Friendly strategy meeting, I had the desire to collaborate with Dementia Spotlight Foundation to help better position the organization as an essential dementia resource,” says Associate Executive Director Alyss Amster, who formerly served as Executive Director of Amy’s Place. “Tapping my expertise in educational support programs, community outreach and working closely with local businesses, my goal is to continue living out the mission of Amy’s Place with an organization that is aligned with the notion that forging a path forward after a dementia diagnosis is possible. ”
Established in 2014 by DSF’s Educational Director Gary Joseph LeBlanc, Dementia Mentors offers assistance to those frightened by the uncertainty of a dementia diagnosis. As a valued ally, Dementia Mentors has helped empower those affected by dementia to fight back and ‘rule’ their diagnosis by staying socially connected to a support network of mentors who know what to expect and how to help. Through an online community designed and built by persons who are living with dementia, interested individuals are invited to attend one-on-one mentoring sessions, browse through empowering videos designed to help viewers understand the disease and attend one of 46 virtual memory cafes available monthly to combat isolation and loneliness.
“Working under the Dementia Spotlight Foundation umbrella, Dementia Mentors will continue to improve efforts to provide international support for those living with dementia,” says Educational Director Gary Joseph LeBlanc. “Through this strategic alliance, we are moving swiftly to build new programs that will further enhance the quality of life for our members, their caregivers and families.”
Originally launched in 2016, DSF acts as a guiding light to the Georgia and Florida dementia community by providing a wealth of support and services through programs, such as the annual Alzheimer’s Music Fest, founded by Vincent Zangaro, Director of Development and Special Events at DSF (set for fall, 2021 in Atlanta), a respite care program, Dementia Spotlight support groups to combat isolation from the COVID-19 pandemic and a hospital wristband program, along with serving as trusted strategic support and an information resource for the local Dementia Friends of Georgia initiative.