What is a Dementia-Friendly Community?

What is a dementia-friendly community?

Dementia-friendly communities help people living with dementia feel included and supported in the places they work, live and play. Dementia-friendly communities began in Japan as a way to support the increasing numbers of people living with dementia as a result of an aging population. From there, the initiative spread to the United Kingdom.

dementia-friendly community focuses on stigma reduction and the inclusion of people living with dementia. People are educated about dementia and know that a person living with dementia may sometimes experience the world differently. In a dementia-friendly community, people living with dementia feel supported by their community members whether they are  at post offices, retail outlets, using transportation or enjoying hobbies out in the community.

The term “community” can mean a location like a neighborhood or city, but can also include groups of people with shared interests or features, such as professional groups, religious organizations or businesses. This means that cities can become dementia-friendly communities, as can your book club, a faith group or your business, a local coffee shop or grocery store.

Why are dementia-friendly communities important?

Why are dementia-friendly communities important?

“A dementia-friendly community is one in which residents, businesses and services understand what dementia is, and how to support and communicate with people who have the diagnosis. It is a community that has programs and meaningful activities that my husband could easily access and comfortably participate in. It is an understanding community in which having dementia is not a stigma, and where my husband feels like he is a contributing, participating member of society.”

– Dementia care partner

Many people living with dementia live well in the community for quite a long time. Dementia may make participating in activities and staying involved more difficult. People living with dementia and caregivers tell us that stigma, as well as social and physical barriers, can make it more difficult to get around and to feel supported. For example, people living with dementia may face challenges when:

  • going shopping,
  • doing their banking,
  • eating out at a restaurant or
  • going to their local post office.
  • using transportation,
  • going on holidays,
  • maintaining social contact or
  • enjoying hobbies out in the community.
However, with a little bit of information, a lot of compassion and your help, there is an opportunity to change this: please join us in creating a dementia-friendly Durham Region.

With dementia-friendly communities, we can:

  • Build communities that value, include and respect people with dementia.
  • Support a sense of belonging and independence.
  • Recognize signs of dementia and know how to communicate effectively and respectfully.
  • Understand what to do when we see a community member who may be wandering.
  • Compliment age-friendly initiatives by emphasizing the needs of people living with dementia. 

Last Updated: 11/08/2017