What is a Dementia Friendly Community?

Dementia Friendly Communities are informed, safe, and respectful of people living with dementia and their families, have supportive features across all community sectors, and foster quality of life for everyone.

Dementia Friendly Montrose Action Team
Dementia Friendly Montrose Action Team becomes Dementia Friends

How does a community become Dementia Friendly?

  • Convene and form an Action Team including key community leaders and members

  • Assess current strengths and gaps in your community using a comprehensive engagement tool.

  • Analyze your community needs and priorities and set goals. [link to dementia capable communities checklist]

  • Act together to put your plan into action and identify ways to measure your progress.

Adapted from ACT on Alzheimer’s® developed tools and resources. [http://www.dfamerica.org]

Ready to start a Dementia Friendly initiative in your neighborhood?

Dementia Friendly in Los Angeles

The following cities are actively working on becoming dementia friendly

  • Azusa
  • San Marino
  • Redondo Beach
  • Montrose
  • Riverside
  • Monrovia
  • Northridge (future)

Alzheimer’s Los Angeles Dementia Friendly Networks

  • West Central/South Central Los Angeles Dementia Care Network: Petra Niles, pniles@alzla.org
  • Asian Pacific Islander Dementia Care Network: Angie Yeh, ayeh@alzla.org

Resources

Directory of handouts created for communities to share and use.

Purposeful Aging Los Angeles is an initiative led by the City and County of Los Angeles, which seeks to prepare the Los Angeles region for the rapidly growing diverse older adult population. Alzheimer’s Los Angeles is working closely with the city to ensure that dementia friendly is incorporated into the work of Purposeful Aging Los Angeles.

Community Spotlight

My friend is living with dementia and every week part of our routine is to visit the local grocery store. We are lucky the staff are very patient and understanding. At our last visit, my friend had trouble counting money and the clerk took the time to help her count change, three times, in spite of the growing line. He treated her with dignity and respect

Nancy Russell, Dementia Friendly Montrose Action Team

I wanted to let caregivers know that I found the Black Bear Diner in Signal Hill to be very dementia friendly…My mom does not do well in crowded noisy restaurants. When we got there today, I asked for a quiet spot if possible and I let the hostess know that my mom had dementia….They went out of their way to accommodate us, and because of that, we will definitely go back. It is so nice when people actually understand and are kind.  🙂

Caregiver, Signal Hill

In the News

Susan Carr, co-founder of Dementia Friendly Montrose, visits her husband Jim at Mountview Senior Living daily. (Photo by Alejandra Reyes-Velarde)

Thank You

Alzheimer’s Los Angeles would like to acknowledge the work of many volunteers, community partners and staff who work tirelessly to make out communities more dementia friendly.

Getting Started

Starting an initiative in your neighborhood doesn’t have to be daunting. Here are some suggested steps to help you get started

Step 1: Convene

  • Build a core team to help lead and organize the work. Don’t do it alone. You need likeminded community leaders, organizations and volunteers to be successful.
  • Contact Alzheimer’s Los Angeles— for technical assistance, resources and to be connected to the network of dementia friendly initiatives. Contact us at advocacy@alzla.org or 844-435-7259.
  • Dementia Friendly America has a robust library of resources and information to help you get started.

Step 2: Assess

With your core team…

  • Assess the needs of your community. Consider using the Alzheimer’s Los Angeles checklist to identify strengths and weaknesses.
  • Identify your priorities. Pick 2-3 main priorities you would like to work on or address. For example, you want to educate law enforcement in your community.

Step 3: Make an Action Plan

Based off your priorities,

  • Set realistic goals
  • Establish a timeline for when you would like to accomplish the goals. Set realistic and relatively short deadlines to keep momentum and engagement.
  • Identify key community partners and allies. Consider partners in government, city council, caregivers, people living with dementia, nonprofits, community organizations, health care providers, assisted living facilities, etc. Who else should be at the table? Who is missing?

Step 4: Act

  • Connect with key community partners. Invite them to meet with you and ask them to work/partner with you.
  • Work towards achieving your goals. Utilizing your community partners
  • Report back to your core group
  • Reassess your needs and priorities as needed. As you accomplish goals or hit barriers, with your core group don’t be afraid of adjusting your plans.

Join the National Dementia Friendly Community Network

Dementia Friendly America (DFA) communities are influencers and catalysts for change that foster capability to support people with dementia and their care partners in local communities across the nation. Joining the DFA network means you are engaged in a process to become more dementia-friendly. DFA does not certify communities as dementia-friendly. Communities interested in being a member of the Dementia Friendly America network pledge that their efforts will include a variety of factors. the community/state lead listed below.

For more information on joining the DFA network of communities check out the DFA Readiness and Recognition criteria or contact info@dfamerica.org.

Dos & Don’ts

Dos

  • Keep the community informed. Share your story and successes with friends, family and community members. Pitch your story to local news—print, radio, TV. Use social media—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Nextdoor—to share about your work.
  • Connect with Alzheimer’s Los Angeles. Staff and volunteers at Alzheimer’s Los Angeles can help provide technical assistance and connect you with other initiatives in the area. advocacy@alzla.org

  • Be creative! Be flexible!

Don’ts

  • Don’t forget to celebrate your progress along the way. Set small realistic goals and celebrate your accomplishments.
  • Don’t do it alone. Consider co-leads, partnering with organizations and government, and creating a core team to help distribute the work and responsibility.
  • Don’t get discouraged. Remember that changing systems and attitudes takes time. It can also be very challenging and you may hear a lot of “no”s.
Dementia Friends California logo

Sponsored by the Purposeful Aging Los Angeles initiative, in partnership with Los Angeles County and the city of Los Angeles, Alzheimer’s Los Angeles is proud to serve as the state lead of the Dementia Friends USA in California.

Dementia Friends USA is a global movement that is changing the way people think, act, and talk about dementia. By becoming a Dementia Friend, individuals can help build dementia friendly communities.  Attend a session and learn about dementia and how it affects people. Everyone can help someone touched by dementia.

Become a Dementia Friend today!