Chapel Hill News

Orange County to launch dementia-friendly business campaign

Linnea Smith
Linnea Smith

The widow of UNC coach Dean Smith will help kick off the state’s first dementia-friendly business campaign Wednesday in Orange County.

The campaign, which already has 10 local businesses signed up, is funded with a $900,000 federal grant. Smith’s wife, Linnea Smith, will share her experience as his caregiver for the first time at the 10 a.m. event in the Seymour Center, 2551 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill.

The campaign’s goal is to create awareness, support and respect for people with Alzheimer’s and related dementias, as well as intellectual and developmental disabilities. Employees at participating businesses will receive training in how better to serve affected customers.

Other speakers include Bobby Gersten, the oldest living former UNC Tar Heel athlete, who also cares for a family member with dementia; Lorenzo Mejia, who helped start the local campaign and owns Acorn Homecare Services; and local aging and government officials.