ST. ALBANS, W.Va. (WOWK) – The City of St. Albans announced today that it is now officially “dementia-friendly”, which is the first in the Mountain State to take extra steps to help those struggling with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

For the last three years, the city has worked to improve the quality of life for its residents, specifically those struggling with dementia, Alzheimer’s or any kind of memory loss.

St. Albans resident, Leah Kendrick, lost her mom to Alzheimer’s and said, “St. Albans has to be commended for the initiative they’ve taken in making this community dementia-friendly. There is just so many things they’ve done to help people.”

City officials say they are happy to be on the leading edge of this initiative in the state.

Mayor Scott James said, “what I wanted to do is bring more community back to St. Albans. We’re making progress, we got more to go, but this is something the whole town can be proud of. The committee for the work they’ve done, but the whole town should be proud that we are the first city in West Virginia to be a dementia-friendly city.”

City officials, law enforcement and businesses in the city have been trained and certified on how to care for dementia patients and help create an environment where they feel accepted and comfortable.

“Dementia-friendly communities make the caregiver feel so calm… just being able to feel comfortable, you know because sometimes it is difficult to go out into a community and not know what’s going on with this person. Just providing an awareness of dementia patients,” said Kendrick.

Now Mayor Scott James also encourages other businesses who haven’t been “dementia-friendly” certified to reach out about the training program they have at the Hansford Senior Center.