San Antonio designated a Dementia Friendly City

San Antonio has been named a Dementia Friendly City by Dementia Friendly America, the School of Nursing announced June 15.

Jacqueline M. McGrath, Ph.D., RN, FNAP, FAAN, vice dean for faculty excellence in the School of Nursing, made the announcement during the 9th Annual Geriatric Conference. The conference brought together health care providers, researchers, community organizations, governmental agencies and families to discuss Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, as well as resources needed by caregivers in the community.

“We are proud to have a hand in bringing the Dementia Friendly designation to San Antonio, along with many strong partners such as University Health System, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Department, the City of San Antonio, the Alzheimer’s Association and many others. As nurse leaders, our mission is to improve health and health care through education, research, practice and community engagement,” Dr. McGrath said.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association and the Texas Department of State Health Services:

  • In 2019, 5.8 million people in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer’s disease. This includes 200,000 people younger than age of 65.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. with an economic burden of $290 billion.
  • Texas ranks fourth nationally, with 390,000 individuals living with Alzheimer’s. The state is second in the number of Alzheimer’s-related deaths, with a 180% increase between 2000 and 2015.
  • Hispanics are about 1.5 times more likely to develop dementia, making San Antonio and South Texas particularly vulnerable to this disease.
  • Nationally, more than 16.2 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, including 1.4 million unpaid caregivers in Texas.
  • In the U.S., unpaid caregivers provide an estimated 18.5 billion hours of care each year, valued at nearly $234 billion.
  • In Texas 1.4 million unpaid caregivers provided care to Texans with Alzheimer’s disease in 2018. This equals 1.6 billion hours of unpaid care at approximately $20.6 billion per year.

The Dementia Friendly City designation recognizes that San Antonio has a grassroots initiative in place, led by an advisory board of committed stakeholders. San Antonio is the third city in Texas with this designation, along with Fort Worth and Tyler.

The School of Nursing’s Caring for the Caregiver program is championing the Dementia Friendly initiative, along two other major stakeholders: University Health System and the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office. These three key stakeholders are committed to raising awareness, offering education and training, conducting research and initiating policy changes to support Dementia Friendly San Antonio.

Carole White, Ph.D., RN, director of the School of Nursing’s Caring for the Caregiver program, is leading the Dementia Friendly initiative.

“We also are seeking community partners, such as churches or other organizations, to help us reach out to individuals with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers to provide education and training,” she said, which is available through Caring for the Caregiver.

The Caring for the Caregiver program is affiliated with the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s & Neurodegenerative Diseases at UT Health San Antonio, which offers patient care, research, events and resources.

For more information about the Caring for the Caregiver program, call (210) 450-8715 or visit

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