Phase 1 Convene

Phase 1: Convene key community leaders and members to understand dementia and its implications for your community. In this phase, you will determine community readiness, build an action team and engage the community more broadly.

Key Steps in Convene Phase

Once the champions have completed the Readiness and Recognition review, it is time to build awareness in the community and seek out other key stakeholders to participate in the effort. This can be done through conducting community meetings and presentations.

Determine Community Readiness. Key community leaders and citizens including people with dementia, their care partners and representatives from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors come together to determine if the community is ready to work toward becoming dementia friendly.

  • Enlist Champions. Prepare an initial meeting with five to seven interested community members who recognize the impact of dementia in your community, can commit some time to the project, and are willing to assist with the recruitment of an Action Team.

  • Discuss Readiness. As a group, discuss definitions and determine whether your community is ready to form an Action Team and work toward a dementia friendly community culture. Decide the next steps and schedule the next meeting. Have members identify and invite other community stakeholders.

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Build the Case. Identify specific community and state statistics and create awareness materials to engage others.  Find information for your state, county or city from the US Census Bureau and include your state's population projections to motivate action.

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Build an Action Team. Your Action Team will drive the efforts toward becoming a dementia friendly community. The best Action Team Members are key community leaders and stakeholders who represent a variety of sectors and are interested in leading the community to become dementia-friendly.

  • Create a List of Possible Team Members. Identify key stakeholders and leaders, people with dementia, their family and care partners, community members representing various community sectors and diverse and underserved populations to be part of the Action Team.

  • Meet with the Team. Schedule one or several informational meetings to discuss the impact of dementia on the community, share dementia friendly community information, and ask for people to be involved in the effort. Define expectations for participation on the Action Team (hours per month/attendance). At the end of the informational meeting, have a sign-up sheet for individual interested in participating on the action team. Hold individual meetings with key stakeholders that the core team has identified if they do not participate in the informational meetings or sign up to participate. Once you have committed team members, schedule regular meetings at a standing time over the next several months and use early meetings to orient the team on the dementia friendly resources and team roles and responsibilities.

  • Coordinate the Team. Successful teams are led by Community Coordinators who are familiar with the toolkit phases and are comfortable explaining the process to recruited team members who are assigned tasks. The Community Coordinator guides the Action Team through the toolkit process, holds regular team meetings to keep the team informed, assigns tasks, establishes deadlines, and updates the community on progress.

  • Timelines and Work Plans. Set specific target completion dates and assign tasks based on those dates. This creates a sense of unity and a steady momentum for progress. It can also enhance enthusiasm and the drive to make a difference, and produce lasting friendships bound by a common interest of improving opportunities for people with dementia and their care partners.

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Kick Off the Effort. A community meeting serves to explain the initiative, process, and recruit additional volunteers for the Action Team or to assist with other Action Phases. This will begin to raise awareness and creates energy to further engage the community.

  • Build the Program. A community kick-off meeting usually brings together the broader community and has a two-fold goal of informing participants about dementia and engaging them in the community initiative. Elected officials and community leaders often speak at these events. Consider having a person with dementia expertise available to make opening remarks, participate on a panel, answer questions or provide resources to kick-off participants. If you choose not to hold an event, find other ways to share the effort and inform the media about the work.

  • Engagement Opportunity. The community meeting is an opportunity to recruit potential volunteers for the effort and potentially identify individuals or organizations that have resources which can support the effort.


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