New Communities Continue to Join the DFA Network!
Dementia Friendly America continues to welcome new communities to the fold! Read on to learn about our newest communities in Michigan, Kentucky, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Virginia and New York.
Launched as a grassroots initiative, Dementia Friendly Saline demonstrates that the community respects and welcomes persons with dementia, their caregivers and families as valued participants in community life. Stemming from a dementia awareness program offered by the local Holy Faith Church, the initiative is supported by the city of Saline, a local retirement community, and enjoys the cooperation of the Alzheimer's Association Michigan Great Lakes Chapter. Along with the active involvement of caregivers, persons with dementia, members of the business, faith, education and residential care sectors, the initiative holds monthly community meetings, stakeholder workshops and dementia education sessions—in addition to hosting opportunities for socialization and connections for persons living with dementia through memory cafés.
Dementia Friendly Lexington began when a group of concerned community members, including caregivers, persons living with dementia and representatives from several organizations began to discuss ways Lexington could be more dementia friendly. Partners include the Alzheimer’s Association, Bluegrass ElderLaw, Bluegrass Area Development District (an Area Agency on Aging) and the University of Kentucky Sanders-Brown Center on Aging. Dementia Friendly Lexington’s goals include helping persons living with dementia and their caregivers engage in community life for as long as possible, increasing awareness of the needs of people living with dementia and their caregivers, and training individuals on ways to communicate and interact with people living with dementia and to reduce social isolation.
South Dakota’s Dementia Friendly Aberdeen team consists of several volunteers from the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce, partners in local government, hospitals and long-term care. Working with the Chamber of Commerce has allowed the Dementia Friendly Aberdeen team to connect with business leaders and gather further support for the program that it may not have received otherwise. The Dementia Friendly Aberdeen team has also received support from the mayor of Aberdeen and is seeking funding through fundraising, grants and sponsorships from local businesses.
Monroe County, WI
The Dementia Friendly Monroe County Coalition consists of healthcare professionals, community members and advocates for senior health and wellness that support Wisconsin’s statewide efforts to improve the lives of those living with dementia and related illnesses. The Coalition’s mission is “to build a dementia friendly community through collaborative partnerships that will raise awareness, provide education and encourage community engagement that will ultimately enhance quality of life for everyone.” The Coalition has launched numerous activities in the community, including education, Project Lifesaver (a search and rescue program operated by public service agencies), monthly memory cafés and other social events for people living with dementia and their caregivers.
The goal of Dementia Friendly Central Virginia (DFCV) is to raise awareness, reduce the stigma surrounding dementia and support the needs of the more than 5,000 people living in the Thomas Jefferson Planning District (the counties of Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson and the City of Charlottesville) who are thought to be living with dementia or other cognitive impairments. DFCV will do so by promoting awareness and recognition of the signs of dementia, and will provide information on how to best communicate with people living with dementia. By tackling the stigma and social isolation that families living with dementia often experience, DFCV hopes to create a community where people living with dementia can continue their daily activities, live safely and be as independent as possible. To this end, DFCV supports businesses and organizations in demonstrating awareness, respect and responsiveness to dementia.
New York, NY
PSS Circle of Care's Dementia Friendly Community initiative takes a grassroots approach to help communities in each of New York City’s five boroughs become dementia friendly. Due to the size and population density of New York City, PSS plans to adapt the DFA model to target diverse and distinct communities that define areas of New York City. PSS has developed a 14-step model that assumes a bottoms-up, grassroots approach that empowers community members to become active participants in the creation of a dementia friendly community, one where people with dementia and their caregivers are empowered, supported and included in society.