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Tell City joins USI in network of dementia friendly communities

The University of Southern Indiana’s Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) has helped the fourth community in Indiana become a part of the Dementia Friendly America (DFA) network. Tell City now joins Petersburg, Rockport, and the USI campus in the USI GWEP’s grassroots efforts to make southwestern Indiana more dementia-friendly. 

Tell City will be recognized during a free, online program, “Your Community Matters: Let’s Talk about Dementia,” from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, February 23. Lisa Fournier, the Project Coordinator for the USI GWEP, says the virtual program is for anyone interested in improving the lives of people living with dementia. Participants can attend all or part of the event, and attendees will be registered to win a gift basket. Registration is required. Those interested can register at  

Interactive sessions will be held on a variety of topics related to dementia and caregiving, including how communities can be dementia friendly, how to become a Dementia Friend, healthy living and nutrition, legal and financial planning, and advance care planning. The presenters are experts in their field from several organizations, including Hawkins Elder Law, Lincoln Financial Advisors, Amedisys, the Alzheimer’s Association, Dementia Friends Indiana, and USI.  

The Alzheimer’s Association and two Area Agencies on Aging (SWIRCA & More and Generations) are collaborating with the USI GWEP for dementia-friendly initiatives in southwestern Indiana. The goals are to convene key community leaders and members to understand how they can support the growing number of individuals with dementia and create action plans with specific objectives for their communities to become dementia-friendly.  

Polly Story and Tenee Kelly are coordinators for Tell City’s dementia-friendly initiatives. 

“Having known the struggles of being a caregiver personally and knowing the need for education and resources in our area, I am very excited to have the opportunity to bring Dementia Friends to the Tell City area,” said Story, a Community Service Representative at Oakwood Health Campus, a Trilogy Senior Living Community in Tell City. “I look forward to working with other community leaders, organizations, businesses, and individuals to assess our needs and develop educational tools and resources to enhance the lives of caregivers and of those living with dementia to keep them active and remaining a part of our community.” 

Kelly is a Hospice Liaison for AseraCare Hospice. “I am very excited to be a part of making Tell City more dementia-friendly,” she said. “I have been helping provide healthcare services for Tell City for three years now, and I believe this will be a huge benefit for people living in the Tell City area. I am very excited to be able to help provide education on dementia for our community.” 

According to Dementia Friendly America, a dementia-friendly community is “informed, safe and respectful of individuals with the disease, their families and caregivers and provides supportive options that foster quality of life.” 

In 2019, USI received a five-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to implement the USI GWEP. The dementia-friendly effort is just one part of the GWEP, which is also focused on developing a workforce to maximize patient and family engagement and integrating geriatrics into primary care. 

To register for the event, visit