KNOXVILLE LEADS NATIONWIDE INITIATIVE TO ESTABLISH ‘DEMENTIA-FRIENDLY’ CITIES

May 6, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 6, 2015

For more information,
Contact: Lauren Miller
Moxley Carmichael
(865) 544-0088

[title]

Knoxville has formed the Purple Cities Alliance, launching a formal effort to make Knoxville one of the first dementia-friendly cities in the United States and serve as a model for other communities across the country to become a “Purple City.”

In a designated “Purple City,” community members and organizations execute specific steps to help people learn about dementia and help those with dementia receive the highest level of care and safety.

“More than 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease, one of the most common types of dementia, and most Knoxvillians know someone suffering from cognitive memory loss,” said Purple Cities Alliance advisory board member Carolyn Pointer Neil.

Neil also is Health Care Center administrator and regional clinical director for Asbury Place and president of Elder Advocates.

“Our goal is for all Knoxville and Knox County citizens and organizations to join us in the journey toward making Knoxville a Purple City,” Neil said. “We have an opportunity to stand up for our loved ones, friends and neighbors by making Knoxville a safe, welcoming and supportive place to live. And we can set the example for cities across the nation to do the same.”

The Purple Cities Alliance initiative in Knoxville will kick off officially on Monday, May 11, at 1 p.m. in Market Square. There will be a brief formal presentation explaining the goals and efforts of the alliance and proclamations from representatives of Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball Assistant Coach Kyra Elzy will share her personal story of her family’s experience with dementia. Additional information and education materials will be available on-site.

The Purple Cities Alliance is led by a team of local volunteers, practitioners and community leaders, and the advisory board includes representatives from Alzheimer’s Tennessee, Courtyards Senior Living, Alzheimer’s Association Eastern Tennessee Chapter, Elder Advocates, Knoxville Senior Directory, The Pat Summitt Foundation and Trinity Hills Senior Living. The alliance provides dementia education and training resources to community members and organizations.

To date, more than 40 organizations and businesses have joined the alliance, including Covenant Health, Tennova Healthcare and The University of Tennessee Medical Center. Knox County Commission has committed to participate in a Purple Cities Alliance training session, and the organization is scheduling a time to ask Knoxville City Council to participate in the formal training, as well.

Other participating organizations include Senior Citizens Home Assistance Service,

East Tennessee Personal Care Service, Amedisys Hospice, Senior Financial Group, WVLT-TV, and the East Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability.

Any organization or company that is interested in receiving more information and signing up as a community partner for the Purple Cities Alliance should visit www.purplecities.org.

Supporters also can engage with and support the Purple Cities Alliance via social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

“We’ve all felt the impact of this disease, whether through Pat Summitt’s story or an experience with a family member,” said Patrick Wade, director of The Pat Summitt Foundation, which is committed to helping find a cure for Alzheimer’s. “We’re working to treat, prevent, cure and ultimately eradicate this disease, but for millions of people living with it, we can make a difference today.

“Together, through education and awareness, we will make Knoxville one of the first Purple Cities in the U.S. and serve as a model for other communities across the country.”

The Purple Cities Alliance is a global network based on the vision and efforts of Norman McNamara, a resident of Torbay, Devon, England, who was diagnosed with dementia at age 50. McNamara founded The Purple Angel organization to encourage his hometown – and cities across the world – to gain insight and understanding about dementia and therefore become more supportive of community members living with the disease and related conditions.

For more information, visit www.purplecities.org.