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Not In My Neighborhood: Minnesota Enclave Wants Dementia Patients to Find Somewhere Else to Live--Editorial

By HERWriter Guide
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Alzheimer's Disease related image Photo: Getty Images

We all know the "NIMBY" mentality: not in my backyard. In other words, we don’t care what goes on as long as it doesn’t affect us. While it's not a great mentality to have, most of us are NIMBYs to some extent. I’m one, you probably are too. Why? Because we pick the neighborhoods we move to for very specific reasons: parks, schools, access to highways and shopping (or the opposite) and when that’s threatened, we react. It’s normal and it’s okay. Animals don’t like their turf being challenged and we humans aren’t too fond of it either. We also don’t like being told that being resistant to change makes us selfish, elitist or adverse to diversity. It ain’t necessarily so.

What is suspect though, is when we resist the addition of a certain group or sector of people, rather than super-sized stores or highways. And in one Twin Cities suburb in Minnesota, the NIMBY attitude is apparent in an enclave called Stonemill Farms, where resistance abounds against the addition of a nursing facility for people suffering from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. The facility would not be built, rather it would move in to a vacant strip mall near the affluent neighborhood. There are the usual worries about traffic, car parking and the like but one of the main reasons some of the residents of Stonemill Farms don’t want a nursing facility there is the opinion that the residents may be a danger to their children. They may do something crazy while at a park where children play, perhaps. Or, as some community members have said, memory impaired residents could roam the streets at night, not knowing what they are doing, committing crimes (unknowingly or purposefully) and generally being a menace to society. The proposed facility is near an elementary school and day care center.

Stonemill Farms has about 600 homes and about 50 people signed a petition to halt the plans for a nursing facility. Now while that seems a small number, it’s really not, if the objectors are not coming from the same household. What seems most unusual is the impression people seem to have of the elderly with dementia. Hanging out in parks and walking the streets? Seriously?

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This article is so sad! My husband has dementia and is so close to Alzheimer's (my Father died with Alzheimer's). The author is correct, only time will tell how many of the neighbors will get this ugly/awful disease, seeing your loved one change right in front of you on a daily basis and not knowing when the morning will come when they do not recognize you and go into the dark abyss! These dear ones are not dangerous they are quite, in most cases. My husband lights up when either an animal or child comes into his view, and when a person comes into his room, he extends his hand and says "Oh, I remember you" when 9 times out of ten this is a new person to his world. TV is so important, my husband laughs and enjoys, still reads the paper but talks less about the current events.
Another reason it is so important to have the "home" in a nice area is for WE THE FAMILY! The sadness that we experience, we need to have beauty and a nice setting so we can feel that the whole world has not gone "dark". If you have not been in this situation with a friend or family member, you probably will have this awful cruel disease come into your world, I don't wish it on anyone!!!! So I would encourage each of us to advocate for both the dementia/Alzheimer's disease, the victims and the family/friends who deal with this aloneness, knowing that there is NOTHING that can be done, except to make the person as comfortable as possible....PLEASE PLEASE HELP, don't turn us away but be there to help/support!!!!
Respectfully, Princeline, Phx

January 11, 2011 - 9:43am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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