Dementia friendly communities include and support people with dementia in the places they work, live and play. People living with the disease feel supported by their community members whether they are at post offices, retail outlets, using transportation or enjoying hobbies out in the community.
A dementia friendly community focuses on stigma reduction and the inclusion of people with dementia. People are educated about the disease and know that a person with dementia may sometimes experience the world differently. In a dementia friendly community, people living with dementia feel supported by their community.
The term “community” can mean a location like a neighborhood or city, but can also include groups of people with shared interests or features, such as professional groups, religious organizations or businesses. This means that cities and towns can become Dementia-Friendly Communities, as can your book club, your business, a local coffee shop, a faith group or grocery store.
Dementia friendly communities are defined by both their social and physical characteristics. These attributes can help support people with dementia by reducing anxiety, stigma or frustration.
What does a dementia friendly social environment look like?
Community members who are dementia friendly recognize that:
- A person with dementia is more than their diagnosis.
- Dementia can affect a person’s cognition, behaviour, emotions and physical capabilities.
- Everyone has a role to play in recognizing people with dementia as a part of their community and supporting their independence, value and inclusion.
What can your community do?
- Request dementia education to help community members understand dementia and learn how to offer appropriate assistance.
- Include people with dementia in community or organizational programming.
- Encourage staff in your city, town or municipality – whether at libraries or community centers, or parking and by-law officers, police and firefighters – to be educated about dementia and be able to communicate effectively with a person with dementia.
- Work with others in the community, such as shopkeepers, bank tellers and bus drivers, to receive dementia education specific to their job.
What about a dementia friendly physical environment?
A physical environment that is welcoming to people with dementia includes:
- Clear and legible signage placed at eye level.
- Flat, wide and unobstructed sidewalks.
- Clearly marked accessible washrooms in public spaces.
- Landmarks, distinctive structures, open spaces and places of activity and rest.
Click here for the fact sheet on dementia friendly communities.
Become a Dementia Friend
A Dementia Friend is someone who learns a little about what it’s like to live with dementia and then turns that understanding into simple actions that can help people with dementia live well.Join a growing movement of individuals and workplaces who are increasing awareness and creating positive change!
Click here for more information about Dementia Friends Canada and to sign up as a Dementia Friend today.
Caring Communities in Manitoba
The people of Austin, Manitoba, and a young woman named Stéphanie Demers, who lives in Winnipeg, have something in common: they have played a role in turning their neighbourhoods into caring communities through their compassionate action towards someone with dementia.
Click here to read their stories.
Request a Dementia Friend Presentation
If your business or organization is interested in a presentation about Dementia Friends and how you can become more involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 204-943-6622 (in Winnipeg) or 1-800-378-6699 (in Manitoba).
We’re here to help
Click here to find out more about the programs and services the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba offers for people with dementia and their families. You can also contact us by emailing email@example.com, calling 204-943-6622 (in Winnipeg) or 1-800-378-6699 (in Manitoba).