Chances are that you know someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of Dementia. Currently, there are an estimated 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease. The Purple Angel program aims to educate the community and local businesses about dementia and how to best assist those with the disease.

The program helps support the principle that people living with dementia have the right to live a full life and continue to be involved in their communities. The program helps empower those living with the disease by offering awareness training to local businesses and organizations.

The Dementia Friendly Community Coalition of Marinette County (DFCC) supports the Purple Angel training in Marinette County. Businesses, public institutions, organizations, and groups in the community are eligible to become “Dementia Friendly,” by completing the Purple Angel training offered by trained DFCC members. Employees/individuals go through the training session to learn how to offer support and hospitality to individuals with memory loss, confusion or other dementia-related symptoms.

Any business can complete a training session to become a Purple Angel business. There are a variety of businesses, organizations and groups already trained in Marinette County, including restaurants, grocery stores, banks, pharmacies, community centers and civic groups. The DFCC has completed training for 65 businesses/groups, with a total of 522 participants, since the program was instituted in 2017.

The purpose of this valuable training is simple and is:

■ To raise awareness and education of all types of dementia;

■ To show support for those dealing with all types of dementia; both those diagnosed as well as those who care for them;

■ To remove the fear, isolation and stigmas associated with the disease;

■ To become a global symbol for dementia that has no language barriers;

■ To have the Global Purple Angel become as well known and as accepted as the Pink Ribbon for breast cancer, allowing people to live with dignity; and

■ To provide an economical way to work in collaboration.

Once a business or group completes the training process, they receive a purple angel to display in their window to let people know they are dementia friendly. People with dementia and their caregivers can be assured the trained establishment is dementia friendly and willing to offer extra assistance if needed.

As a coalition, the DFCC plans to engage as many professionals, businesses and personal caregivers as possible to offer training in ways to interact and care for those living with dementia. A business or group that is dementia friendly becomes a valuable stakeholder in the well-being of our community.

Teresa Clement is a DFCC Board Member and the ADRC of Marinette County Dementia Care Specialist. Those who are interested in the Purple Angel Training or would like more information may call Clement at 715-732-3850.