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The Kokomo-Howard County Public Library has received a $15,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Howard County to make Kokomo/Howard County dementia-friendly.

Dementia is a growing health issue in America – some say a crisis. The statistics are startling, according to the Alzheimer’s Association:

  • Worldwide, 50 million people are living with Alzheimer's and other dementias.
  • Every 65 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s.
  • 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s.
  • In Indiana in 2016, there were 110,000 people, ages 65 and older, living with Alzheimer’s.
  • By 2050, an American will develop Alzheimer’s dementia every 33 seconds.
  • It’s projected that by 2050, 16 million Americans will be living with Alzheimer’s.
  • Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Alzheimer’s is the 5th leading cause of death in Indiana.
  • Alzheimer’s kills more people than breast and prostate cancers combined.
  • In 2019, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the nation $290 billion.
  • In 2050, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the nation $1.1 trillion.
  • More than 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.
  • In 2019, caregivers will provided an estimated 18.5 billion hours of care valued at $234 billion.

That’s why the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library is creating More than a Memory, a multi-faceted, comprehensive, and cohesive health program to lead our community in providing caregivers, those who’ve been diagnosed, first responders, front-facing businesses, and organizations the resources they need to face this health epidemic with knowledge, tools, and compassion.

KHCPL will work with community leaders and partners to complete Dementia Friendly America’s four required phases so that Kokomo/Howard County receives dementia-friendly status, putting us on the cutting edge of the age-friendly movement in America. Kokomo/Howard County will be the fourth community in the state to become dementia-friendly. Bloomington, and Hamilton and Lawrence counties are already dementia-friendly.

In addition, KHCPL has a number of plans, including the following:

  • to partner with local lawyers, bankers, real estate agents, health-care workers, and other key players who deal with dementia to help them create plans of action and publications for clients and caregivers facing Alzheimer’s/dementia;
  • to facilitate Virtual Dementia Tours, enabling people to experience for themselves the physical and mental challenges those with dementia face, and, therefore, use the experience to provide better person-centered care;
  • to decrease isolation for those with Alzheimer’s/dementia and their loved ones by providing a Memory Café, where they can gather for regular times of social interaction in a dementia-friendly atmosphere;
  • to provide free, circulating kits with materials to help educate caregivers and lessen agitation in those with dementia. The kits will include books to help caregivers better understand the disease and how to deal with behaviors, and specially designed products to lessen agitation and fidgeting in those with dementia;
  • and to train businesses how to be dementia-friendly.

“Our donors have a vision to make Howard County a better place, and this grant will have the positive impact they desire by meeting community needs,” said Greg Aaron, President of the Community Foundation of Howard County. “Many families and caregivers struggle with the care of a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or dementia. The program material and training will be easily accessible through the library and is designed to help caregivers develop an action plan. Because of the generosity of our donors, we are pleased to be able to support this program.”

KHCPL Director of Marketing, Lisa Fipps, has a deep understanding of the issues those with the disease and their caregivers face. As a caregiver, she’s logged an estimated 30,048 hours in the past six years taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s. Because of that, KHCPL selected her to lead More Than a Memory. She will receive a variety of training from the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners® as well as Second Wind Dreams®.

“One key element of More Than a Memory is that Lisa is an award-winning former journalist. She has the ability to write original content, so she’ll create a step-by-step guide on how to become dementia-friendly,” said KHCPL Director Faith Brautigam. “Libraries across the country have begun to talk about how best to provide support as families and communities struggle with this issue, and I am excited that KHCPL has the potential to add to the national conversation. KHCPL will look for opportunities to share and promote the program through professional journals, webinars, and/or conferences.”

For more information about More Than a Memory, please call Lisa Fipps, KHCPL Director of Marketing, at 626.0807 or email her at

About Dementia-Friendly America

Dementia-Friendly America is a national network of communities, organizations, and individuals seeking to ensure that communities across the U.S. are equipped to support people living with dementia and their caregivers. It launched in 2015 with pilot communities in Denver, Colorado; Prince George's County, Maryland; Santa Clara County, California; Tempeh, Arizona; and the state of West Virginia.

About the Virtual Dementia Tour®

The Virtual Dementia Tour® is a scientifically proven method of building a greater understanding of dementia through the use of patented sensory tools and instruction and created by P.K. Beville. For more information about Second Wind Dreams® and the Virtual Dementia Tour go to