B.C. is becoming dementia friendly, one community at a time
The Alzheimer Society of B.C. has officially launched the Dementia-Friendly Communities initiative. Dementia-friendly communities are characterized by a heightened awareness of dementia and rely on individuals who take a little bit of time to learn how to recognize that someone has dementia and how they can respond in a respectful, effective way.
From left to right: Alzheimer Society of B.C. CEO Maria Howard; Ministry of Health Director, Integrated Primary & Community Care Janet Zaharia; Alzheimer's advocate Jim Mann; and Alzheimer Society of B.C. Advocacy Analyst Rebecca Morris.
Dementia-friendly communities can include not only a physical space such as a town, village or city, but may also include faith communities, professional groups or even a restaurant, library or book club. By spreading awareness and reducing stigma about dementia, our communities will be better positioned to support people living with dementia as they try to stay engaged in their communities, despite social and physical barriers that can make it more challenging.
Over the last few months the Alzheimer Society of B.C. has had an opportunity to present pilot Dementia Friends education in a variety of venues, to diverse groups of participants. In February, the Society presented at the Nikkei Place, a Japanese Cultural Society. Attendees included staff, residents and members of the general public. The Society also presented to a group of staff at the City of Vancouver, the first of several education sessions to be done in partnership with the City in relation to its Age-Friendly Action Plan. In March, the Society held education sessions for the Dawson Creek city council, attendees at Fraser Health’s Assisted Living Symposium, students at the University of British Columbia and staff at the Ministry of Health in Victoria.
Over the next few months the Society will continue to unfold the Dementia-Friendly Communities initiative through education, strategic partnerships and the development of tools to help municipalities and the professional sector in their dementia-friendly goals. The Government of Canada and the Alzheimer Society of Canada will also be working together to implement the innovative Dementia Friends program across the country so that all Canadians have the opportunity to become dementia friendly.
Learn more about the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s Dementia-Friendly Communities initiative.