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Not long after the Clarkston’s community center opened, the staff recognized that older refugees face unique hurdles in adapting to a different culture. “They’re the last [in the family] to get any kind of services,” says director Cindy Bowden. “They’re the last to learn English. They’re the last to get involved in the community. It’s important to offer them an avenue to belonging.”
The woman guided her wheelchair onto the sidewalk along Spring Street in Midtown and considered her options. She was only going a few blocks, but to get there smoothly, she had to consider potential barriers that able-bodied people don’t usually worry about. She consulted the new app on her smartphone, which directed her along Armstead Place rather than Fourth Street; there’s no walk signal or crosswalk across traffic-heavy Spring Street at Fourth.
The Arbor Terrace assisted living facility in Alpharetta is typically a pretty quiet place. But on Wednesday and Friday mornings, the space is filled with an unexpected sound: the excited chatter and squeals of young children.
In Georgia one in five adults suffer from some kind of mental illness, and the rate is higher in adults over age 60. “When people get older, they fall off the map in terms of mental health services,” says Dr. William McDonald, a geriatric psychiatrist who heads the Fuqua Center.
One steamy July morning, in the dining room of a spacious Inman Park home, a group of longtime neighborhood residents strategized over muffins and coffee about how to combat the unpleasant problem of root-busted sidewalks. And how to address the fact that Inman Park is home to nearly 4,300 people and a multitude of pricey luxury apartments but not a single residence classified as senior housing.
Science shows that people of color are nearly twice as likely as their Caucasian counterparts to develop some form of dementia. And yet African Americans are consistently under-represented in Alzheimer’s studies. So geriatrics physician Dr. Monica Parker—whose mother and grandmother both suffered from dementia—doesn’t mince words when she’s doing community outreach for Emory’s centers on Alzheimer’s Disease Research and Brain Health.
When Pam Van Ahn greets you at the front door of Amy’s Place, she has a tail-wagging companion, Earl. The friendly black dachshund was previously owned by Van Ahn’s late mother, Carol, who was diagnosed with dementia and passed away in 2012. Van Ahn, a former nurse who moved to Roswell in 2011 to take care of her mother, says that her family created Amy’s Place—a unique gathering space known as a “memory care cafe” for people with dementia and their families—after learning firsthand what caregivers go through.