As I drive into downtown on Main Street, I see banners that show Lexington’s national ranking in several categories: No. 6 in advanced degrees; No. 3 in best places to retire; No. 7 for best cities for jobs and No. 17 for high-tech centers.
These figures are something all citizens should take pride in. Yet, there is another category that should rank Lexington as a leader.
Thirty-three years ago, a program called Best Friends began to provide an adult day center for older adults with Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders. The program has been implemented in 10 Kentucky cities, much of the United States and 12 countries.
The foundation of Best Friends is relationship based: Get to know your friend and his/her life story. Use this knowledge to bring dignity to their lives and replace boredom and isolation.
We must ensure our spirit and pride is reflected in the Best Friends approach. The annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s is a major step. Also, every aspect of the community should be educated in the basics of the disease and how to assist those with dementia.
The rewards of such an approach would go much deeper than a banner hanging on Main Street.