ACT on Alzheimer’s Giiwedinong/Northland (Bemidji)

Updated February 2018

In 2018, we are continuing the work we started as an ACT community to become dementia friendly.

What We’re Doing for Our Community

  • Providing extensive dementia outreach and education, which has led to higher interest and willingness to speak about this issue
  • Hosting awareness events, including the Alzheimer’s Walk, during Alzheimer’s Awareness Week
  • Partnered with neighboring tribal nations to organize a statewide dementia conference focused on American Indians

Connect with Us

ACT Bemidji Facebook
Contact:  Kathryn Gonzalez,

About Our ACT Community

Northwoods Caregivers (Northwoods Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers Program) and local partners Adult Day Services, Inc.; Sanford Health Advance Care Planning; Calvary Lutheran Church; and Northern Safety & Security formed Giiwedinong/Northland ACT on Alzheimer’s in 2014. The group serves Beltrami and Clearwater, northern Hubbard, northwestern Cass, southwestern Koochiching counties and portions of the Red Lake, Leech Lake, and White Earth Nations.

“According the Alzheimer’s Association, less than 35 percent of people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias have the diagnosis documented in their medical record. People diagnosed with dementia need support in optimizing medications, managing chronic conditions and making behavioral changes—all of which put an extra burden on often short-staffed medical organizations. Lack of dementia-related training for medical professionals is a problem across the country, but particularly so in rural communities. Our team recognized a need for training in the Bemidji area. We partnered with Sanford Health and others to conduct ACT on Alzheimer’s ‘Best Practices for Optimizing Dementia Care’ training. It has been well received, and we have trained more than 70 professionals. The result has been a significant increase in the number of practitioners who understand the importance of early and accurate diagnosis and who can offer coordinated services and resources to people with dementia and their caregivers.”
---Carol Priest, ACTion Team Coordinator

Snapshot of Activities

  • Changed ACTion Team name to “Giiwedinong/Northland” to reflect the expanded service area both geographically and culturally.
  • Nineteen volunteer educators offer ongoing community education on “The Basics” and “Know the 10 Signs” in Bemidji and other communities. Most notably they presented to more than 300 elders at the annual Red Lake Elders Gathering.
  • Trained more than 70 physicians and other medical staff on Best Practices for Optimizing Dementia Care (an ACT on Alzheimer’s-developed training).
  • Trained coaches to work with Native American caregivers using the REACH intervention.
  • Developed and distributed a Medical Identification & Tracking Devices Guide about resources in the Bemidji area to keep people with dementia or Alzheimer’s safe.
  • Partnering with Training to Serve to offer workshops to LGBT elders and caregivers and elder service providers throughout the service area.

Resources, News and Events

Medical Identification & Tracking Devices Guide
ACT Bemidji Promotional Video

Invitation to "Alzheimer's: Every Minute Counts" Screening and Panel Discussion
March 7, 2017

Funds to Help Dementia Awareness
January 21, 2016, Lakeland Public Television

Taking ACTion on Dementia
September 19, 2015, The Bemidji Pioneer

Community Effort Underway to Make Bemidji More Dementia-Friendly
March 21, 2015, The Bemidji Pioneer

ACTing on Alzheimer's; Bemidji selected as one of 12 communities statewide to develop steps to better deal with Alzheimer's, dementia
July 31, 2014, The Bemidji Pioneer

Dementia Awareness Days held September 21 and 22, 2015 (flyer)

Mayoral Proclamation of Dementia Awareness Days September 21 and 22, 2015 (pdf)

Bemidji Community Meeting held March 26, 2015