Below are details of the 2017 Learning Summit, held October 24, including background information, schedule, session descriptions and speaker/presenter bios.  At the end of each boldface session title, find links to handouts, Powerpoint presentations and other resources. 

2017 Action Communities Learning Summit

Over the last five years, communities throughout Minnesota have partnered with ACT on Alzheimer's and accessed ACT's community engagement resources as they work toward becoming dementia friendly across all parts of the community.  Each year has seen a progression in the work, from convening interested community members to assessing community needs to taking action. This Learning Summit is intended for community members new to the work and interested in what dementia friendly involves, as well as for those who are continuing their work toward creating dementia friendly communities. 

The 2017 Learning Summit is full of meaningful community engagement topics aimed at ACTing together for a stronger dementia friendly Minnesota. After an opening address by an international expert on dementia innovations around the world, we'll learn from communities with youth and dementia efforts underway and have breakout sessions on starting memory cafes, adapting Dementia Friends for diverse cultures, making workplaces, restaurants, and libraries dementia friendly, and applying the arts and music for people with dementia and their care partners. An afternoon workshop will dig deep into the successes, challenges, and ongoing opportunities of designing dementia friendly communities and the day will end with a wellness discussion for caregivers: Mindfulness Based Dementia Care.


8:30 am – 9:30 am  Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:30 am – 9:40 am  Welcome

9:40 am – 10:15 am  Dementia Friendly Innovations Around the World (handout); (powerpoint)
In this opening address, an international expert will share his insights on the various experiments happening around the world toward dementia friendly communities. Examples involving people with dementia, their families, and supporters will shed light in the areas of awareness, engagement and support. The address will also cover dementia-related public health and health system change efforts that have grown from dementia friendly community roots.

Speaker Michael Splaine is owner and principal in Splaine Consulting, an advocacy and government affairs consulting firm based in Washington DC. His company is engaged with the Alzheimer’s Association/CDC Healthy Brain Initiative and Alzheimer’s Disease International, as well as hospitals on their care of persons with cognitive impairment. Previously, Mike was Director of State Government Affairs in the Public Policy Division of the US Alzheimer’s Association, leading its grassroots network to accomplish comprehensive state Alzheimer's Plans.

10:15 am – 10:55 am  Youth—Creating A Future Worth Remembering (handout); (powerpoint)
It’s uncommon to attend a dementia conference or event and see engaged and inspiring youth  center stage. In this session you will meet three young people who are all about ACTion in their high school, college, and communities.  Learn about how they are engaging peers and raising awareness across generations with efforts to make Alzheimer’s a part of the curriculum in schools, train youth around dementia friendly practices, and support research through advocacy as well as inspiring the next generation of scientists.

Yohan Alexander, high school student, Rochester MN, and founder of Purple Orchard
Kate Klosterman, executive member, Alzheimer’s Association Young Champions
Nihal Satyadev, co-founder, The Youth Movement Against Alzheimer’s at UCLA

10:55 am – 11:10 am  Grandpa and Lucy.  A Story About Love and Dementia. (book flyer)  Now available at
Edie Weinstein is a ninth grader at Visitation High School, Mendota Heights MN.  As a life-long Girl Scout, Edie wrote “Grandpa and Lucy” for a Girl Scout Silver Award project to help more people, particularly younger ones, learn about dementia. She wanted to make it more enjoyable for young people to talk with their relatives or older friends who have dementia. Knowing that dementia can make someone's world shrink, Edie's hope is that “Grandpa and Lucy” helps some families become closer and broadens their world.

Morning Breakouts (Select one session)

11:30 am – 12:15 pm Session 1:  Creating and Sustaining Memory Cafés (handout); (powerpoint)
Memory cafés can reduce social isolation among people living with dementia and their care partners, revitalize time spent together, and restore one’s belief in accomplishing tasks. In this breakout session, the presenters will discuss the key ingredients of a successful café, introduce participants to the two free toolkits they developed, and discuss ways to sustain a café program. One presenter runs a network of memory cafés in Massachusetts and the second presenter co-founded an organization made up of 10 monthly memory cafés in 8 locations in northeast Wisconsin.  

Beth Soltzberg, MSW, MBA, facilitates the JF&CS Memory Café and Balancing Act group at Jewish Family & Children’s Service in Greater Boston. She designed and runs the statewide Percolator Memory Café Network, which is home to over 70 memory cafés, including rural and urban ones, Spanish-speaking and bilingual ones, and cafés designed for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who also live with dementia. Beth co-coordinates the Dementia Friendly Massachusetts Initiative and also coordinates Dementia Friends Massachusetts.

Susan H. McFadden, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita of Psychology, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, where she offered courses on adult development and aging and seminars on dementia studies.  In 2011, Susan co-founded the Fox Valley Memory Project, which aims to create a dementia-friendly community in northeast Wisconsin.  She has been a TimeSlips (evidence-based elder care) trainer for many years, collaborates with arts and cultural museum programs for persons with dementia, and volunteers at a local memory café.

11:30 am – 12:15 pm Session 2:  Dementia Friends Minnesota:  Implementation and Cultural Adaptations (handout); (powerpoint)
Attend this breakout session to learn about the Dementia Friends program and what's involved in offering it. You will gain some helpful tips for implementing Dementia Friends MN, including lessons learned from the Hispanic, West African and Native American communities.  Dementia Friends is a global movement, developed by the Alzheimer’s Society in the United Kingdom, that is changing the way people think, act, and talk about dementia. Dementia Friends MN is the first state licensee of the program in the US.

Emily Farah-Miller, Executive Lead, ACT on Alzheimer’s
Yolima Chambers, Health and Wellness Department Administrator, Centro Tyrone Guzman
Tricia Cowan, Assistant Professor, Department of Nursing, Bemidji State University, ACT Giiwedinong Northland Action Team Member
Vivian Anugwom, Inclusive Community Bridges, ACT West African Action Team Member

12:15 – 1 pm Lunch and Networking

Afternoon: Select two of four Breakout Sessions (1:00-1:45 and 2:00-2:45).

Workshop:  Using Design Thinking Problem-Solving to Sustain Dementia Friendly Communities.  The workshop is for those currently engaged in dementia friendly community work. 
In this workshop, you will learn about design thinking, a future-oriented and human-centered problem-solving method and mindset for navigating complex challenges. Hear the presenter's  insights for sustaining dementia friendly community work by reframing problems, discovering unlikely resources and partnerships, and growing your creativity to leverage limited resources to address problems that have felt unsolvable in the past. Through the workshop’s pre-summit assignment and small and large group insights and activities, you will learn the key competencies of design thinking and how to apply them directly to the most persistent challenges facing your community in sustaining dementia friendly efforts.

Presenter Jess Roberts leads the Culture of Health By Design initiative at the Minnesota Design Center (University of Minnesota, College of Design), which offers expertise, guidance, and ongoing support to health organizations, government agencies, nonprofits and communities looking to build and embed a competency and structure for design thinking. Jess is currently on the faculty at the Center for Disease Control’s Leadership and Management Institute and Affiliate Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health.

Afternoon Breakouts (Select two sessions) 

1 pm – 1:45 pm Session 1:  Art Sparks! (handout); (Chanhassen powerpoint); (Paramount Arts powerpoint)
Chanhassen's ACTion team and Bluff Creek Elementary School participated in an intergenerational community project to raise awareness of Alzheimer's with young people and the community at large. 4th and 5th graders were paired with seniors to create art together, which is now displayed in city offices. At this breakout, you can view the artwork and learn how to partner with your local school to engage children in becoming dementia friendly members of your community.  This session will also feature a new arts-related outreach program designed for people living with memory loss and their care partners. Hear stories, see program-in-action photos, and learn about the resources that could make such a program a viable part of your community.

Dorina Tipton, Chanhassen Action Team member
Jane Oxton, Director of Education and Outreach, St. Cloud’s Paramount Center for the Arts, oversees the new dementia and arts program, which is intended to serve people still living in their home to reduce isolation, instill confidence, and spark renewed focus and engagement.  Care partners also learn new strategies that can be useful in the home setting. 

1 pm – 1:45 pm Session 2:  Dementia Friendly @ Work (handout); (powerpoint) and Purple Table Reservations (powerpoint); (PBS News Hour 3 min. video); (Fox25 Boston 2:30 min. video)
ACT on Alzheimer’s Dementia Friendly @ Work training helps everyone in an organization and workplace understand dementia and the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, and provides tips on what’s involved in creating a dementia friendly physical space.  Learn where this training has been offered and how you can use it to better serve and support community members living with dementia. 
Melinda Fast, Benton County, ACT Sauk Rapids Action Team member

Purple Table restaurant reservations allow people who are living with Alzheimer’s/Dementia, autism, PTSD, a hearing or vision impairment, or other physical or cognitive conditions to experience enjoyable and successful accommodations when dining out.  Families know that when they make a Purple Table reservation at a participating restaurant, the staff have been trained to understand different needs and to be patient.  At this session, you will learn the benefits of restaurants joining the program, and the ways you can educate the restaurants in your communities, including employee training and program integration. The presenter will also discuss how consumers can make Purple Table Reservations using the website and mobile app.

Jenifer Apazidis, founder of Purple Table Reservations, lives outside of Boston, MA, with her husband and two children.  Her mother was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in her late 50’s, and Jenifer was one of her primary caregivers. In 2013, she and her husband opened a restaurant outside of Boston and launched a monthly luncheon in 2014 called Lovely Linda’s Lunches for people with dementia and their caregivers.  In 2017, she started Purple Table Reservations after seeing what an impact employee training and a discreet reservation flag could have in the lives of so many.

2 pm – 2:45 pm  Session 1:  Creating a Dementia Friendly Chorus (handout); (powerpoint)
Music and memory is widely studied today as a means of engaging people with memory loss and bringing new joy and purpose to their lives. This breakout session will focus on how to create a dementia friendly chorus for people living with Alzheimer's and their care partners and the positive, joyful impacts. The presenters will describe a comprehensive toolkit for starting the chorus and the real-life experience of a Mankato area chorus.

Mary Lenard, Giving Voice Initiative
Sandi Lubrant is the team lead for the Mankato & North Mankato ACT on Alzheimer’s Action Team and the program director for the Singing Hills Chorus. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Elder Justice Center and three Alzheimer’s Association MN-ND Chapter committees.

2 pm – 2:45 pm  Session 2:  Engaging Your Public Library in Your Dementia Friendly Efforts (handout); (powerpoint)
As Minnesota communities work to become dementia friendly, an important resource is the public library. Besides offering education and information about dementia to caregivers and the general public, libraries contain a wealth of materials that can directly stimulate and engage people living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. This breakout session can help you begin a conversation with your public libraries and get them involved in your work.

Mary Beth Riedner is a retired academic librarian who served on the leadership team of the American Library Association’s Alzheimer’s & Related Dementias Interest Group. She will describe several innovative efforts that libraries across the country have developed, including circulating memory kits, reminiscence kits and offering book and reading programs at memory care facilities, hospitals and memory cafes. The award-winning “Tales & Travel” library program is one that Mary Beth developed while she cared for her husband who had early onset dementia.

2:45 pm – 3:10 pm  Network and Refreshments

3:15 pm – 3:50 pm  How Best to Help Caregivers and Ourselves?  Practice Mindfulness (handout); (powerpoint)
Caring for someone with dementia produces an infinite number of small moments everyday where caregivers can go in one of two directions: adding more stress or cultivating more ease. This session's presenters will talk about Mindfulness Based Dementia Care (MBDC), share opportunities and resources for you and the caregivers you support, and then guide you through a mindfulness yoga practice created especially for the end of our day together. 
Michelle Barclay, MA, is president and co-founder of The Barclay Group, LLC. She is an expert in aging and dementia, an ACT on Alzheimer's consultant, yoga instructor (RYT-200), and has completed the Mindfulness Based Dementia Care Training Program.
Angela Lunde, MA, is the education manager at the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.  She is a wellness coach, certified grief counselor, yoga instructor (E-RYT), and has completed the Mindfulness Based Dementia Care Training Program.

3:50 pm – 4:00 pm Closing Remarks