What is Dementia Friendly America (DFA)?  DFA is a national network of communities, organizations and individuals seeking to ensure that communities across the U.S. are equipped to support people living with dementia and their caregivers. Dementia friendly communities foster the ability of people living with dementia to remain in community and engage and thrive in day to day living. 

When did DFA begin? The DFA movement began in September 2015 following the White House Conference on Aging and is based upon Minnesota’s statewide successful initiative, ACT on Alzheimer's. DFA launched in 2015 with pilot communities in Denver, CO; Prince George's County, MD; Santa Clara County, CA; Tempeh, AZ;  and the state of West Virginia; 

What is a Dementia Friendly community? A dementia friendly community is a village, town, city or county that is informed, safe and respectful of individuals with the disease, their families and caregivers and provides supportive options that foster quality of life. Joining DFA means a community is engaging in a process to become more dementia friendly

How does a community join the DFA network of communities? To help communities work towards becoming dementia friendly, DFA offers technical assistance, including a community toolkit, sector specific guidance  and best practices synthesized from across the world. To  learn how to join the DFA network of communities review the Dementia Friendly Community Readiness and Recognition Criteria here.

 

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Watch a Dementia Friendly America Introductory Video. This video highlights why dementia friendly work is so critical and how you can get involved. Contact the DFA staff team to have access to a downloadable version of this video to show at your community event.

 

Who is involved in a DFA community? Every part of the community plays a role works together to take steps to create a dementia friendly culture. 

  • Businesses and Banking support customers with dementia by accommodating cognitive impairment.

  • Law enforcement and first responders recognize signs of dementia respond accordingly

  • Health care systems promote early diagnosis and connect individuals with community services.

  • Faith communities are welcoming and have specialized programs, services or accommodations.

  • Local governments plan and implement housing, transportation, public spaces, and emergency response that enable people with dementia and care partners to thrive.

  • Community members learn how to interact sensitively and create networks of support.

  • Restaurants, grocery stores, and libraries offer services and supports that foster access and independence

  • Employers support employees who are caregivers through proactive personnel policies.

  • Residential care and community services offer a range of services to maximize independence and support ongoing community engagement.

 

Integrating Age Friendly and Dementia Friendly efforts. As the population ages, and the instance of persons living with dementia increases, communities across the country and around the world are undertaking efforts integrating the needs of all. AARP and Dementia Friendly America have partnered to develop “Better Together: A Comparative Analysis of Age-Friendly and Dementia Friendly Communities”. This resource is designed to illustrate how age-friendly and dementia friendly efforts relate by providing case studies and an overlay that reflect the World Health Organization’s eight domains of age-friendliness alongside key characteristics of dementia friendly communities. Download the Better Together resources here: