Deputy secretary stresses importance of dementia care

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The last Tuesday of every month, the Aging and Disability Resource Center of La Crosse puts together a memory cafe.

Julie Willems Van Dijk, the Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, stopped by the cafe as she made a visit to La Crosse.

Memory cafe's are safe places for people with memory loss to engage in social activities.

Health officials say services like these are critical as the state expects the number of residents suffering from memory loss to increase in the near future.

They also say it's important to fight chronic diseases, which are linked to memory loss.

"The kinds of things we're doing to help prevent chronic diseases like heart disease and stroke and respiratory diseases. Things like activities to reduce tobacco use, activities to reduce obesity, to improve healthy eating and active living," said Willems Van Dijk.

She adds services for caregivers and family members of people with dementia and Alzheimer's are also critical