A Dementia Friendly community is a village, town, city or county taking action to ensure people with dementia can live independently for as long as possible. It is a community where people living with dementia and their care partners will be able engage in a variety of activities and be supported in these activities. In a Dementia Friendly community, every part of the community plays a role and works together to create a dementia friendly culture.

Getting Started

Dementia Friendly America (DFA) communities foster change to support people with dementia and their care partners in local communities across the nation. Communities interested in joining the Dementia Friendly America network of communities file a pledge with DFA that their communities will include the following factors, as well as submit three letters of support that represent various sectors of communities.

  • Connecting Across Sectors. DFA communities convene a cross-sector team across three or more community sectors to advance dementia friendliness.  A cross-sector team includes at a minimum, government, clinical, community-based organizations and people living in community with dementia and their care partners. Ideally, several community sectors are represented on the cross-sector team.
  • Inclusion and Leadership of People Living with Dementia. People living with dementia and their caregivers are key to leading and shaping dementia friendly communities.  It is imperative that people living with dementia shape a dementia friendly community effort.
  • Adoption and Communication of Dementia Friendly Practices and Change Goals. DFA communities foster sector-specific dementia friendly practices across their communities. The DFA toolkit guides communities through a step-by-step process that fosters adoption of dementia friendly practices in all parts of community. Communities may follow the step by step process or do sector-based outreach and training. Please indicate how your community plans to engage in dementia friendly work.
  • Champion Organization and Coordination Capacity. Many DFA communities benefit from having an organization that is willing to champion, coordinate and, if needed, serve as a fiscal sponsor. The champion organization may help recruit and partner with a senior leader of local government in the effort (e.g. mayor; city council; other elected officials).
  • Progress Tracking and Sharing. Communities will report progress by providing a current program description, upon request, and by completing periodic surveys.

To Join the Dementia Friendly America Network of Communities:

  • Provide a memo summarizing how your community meets the readiness and recognition criteria
  •  Prove three or more letters of support representing different community sectors
  •  If your DFA community is in a state with a DFA state lead, please include an additional letter of support from that agency/individual.
  • Provide one-paragraph project description to be used for public dissemination
  • Once DFA has reviewed a community’s materials and communicated approval, a community may identify themselves with the Dementia Friendly America logo. 

Benefits of Joining the DFA Network of Communities: 

  • Participation in a national movement 
  • Access to webinars for DFA communities
  • Access to DFA communities listserv and distribution list
  • Technical assistance with DFA staff team
  • Access to DFA logo / branding
  • Ability to connect with other DFA communities
  • Opportunities to have your work highlighted  

Download this information in DFA's Readiness and Recognition Criteria.