Maple Leaf Cheese & Chocolate Haus Kicks Off the Dementia-Friendly Efforts in Green County!


Maple Leaf Cheese & Chocolate Haus became a dementia-friendly business on August 20, 2015! The employees participated in a training that was led by the Green County Dementia-Friendly Community Coalition.

The goal of the training is to increase the employees’ awareness and understanding of dementia to help them better understand various scenarios they may face in their professional and personal lives. In the business setting, the training really comes down to a discussion about good customer service.

“Maple Leaf was a great first business to train to become dementia-friendly in Green County! They already have wonderful customer service; now they are more aware of dementia and how to interact with those who may be living with it,” commented Whitney Thompson, the Dementia Specialist for the Aging & Disability Resource Center. She also noted, “the group at Maple Leaf even gave an example of someone that came into their shop who they thought may have dementia. They talked about how they were able to guide their customer!”

The individuals involved in the training at Maple Leaf also discussed that when you are working to make a community more understanding and compassionate for individuals with dementia, you really are making a more understanding and compassionate community in general.

Maple Leaf can now proudly display the “Purple Angel” decal on their store front and websites. The “Purple Angel” is the international symbol for a dementia-friendly and aware business or organization.

The dementia-friendly initiative began in Europe and is now a state-wide effort in Wisconsin. The Green County Dementia-Friendly Community Coalition is working to make our county more aware. The coalition will continue to spread awareness about dementia by working to make businesses and organizations dementia-friendly. The group is striving to gain interest from other businesses to participate in the training so they too can make a difference in their community and proudly display the “Purple Angel.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1 in 9 individuals over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, we many times make the assumption that people with dementia are living in a facility, but in reality the majority are living in their own homes. In Southwest Wisconsin (Grant, Green, Iowa, and Lafayette Counties), the Wisconsin Department of Health Services estimates that about 2,437 individuals are living with dementia in their own residence. This number is only projected to increase.

Alzheimer’s and other dementias are impacting our families, friends, neighbors, and community members. We need to work together to help make our communities a place where individuals with dementia can live a high quality of life. We want them to maintain their independence, but be there to support and guide them when it is needed.

If you are interested in becoming dementia-friendly or joining the dementia-friendly community initiative, contact the Aging & Disability Resource Center to get connected to Whitney Thompson, the Dementia Care Specialist by calling 608-426-4295