Dementia-Friendly Communities

Image of the Purple Angel logoThe people of Wisconsin are coming together to support their families, friends, and neighbors living with dementia. The sections below provide information about how to become involved in dementia-friendly community initiatives.

Dementia-friendly communities

Younger adult comforting an adult in wheelchair outside.

The toolkit

The Building Dementia-Friendly Communities Toolkit is a guide for implementing dementia-friendly community efforts.

Specific handouts advise dentists, faith communities, grocery stores, law enforcement and first responders, pharmacists, and restaurants on how to become dementia-friendly.

Aging and disability resource centers

If you want to help your community become more dementia-friendly, you can contact your local aging and disability resource center (ADRC). ADRCs are welcoming places that provide information on programs and help people understand available care options. Local dementia care specialists also help coordinate support, education, and resources for those with dementia and their families.

Memory cafes

Memory cafes are regularly scheduled social gatherings (in places such as coffee shops and libraries) for those with memory loss or dementia and their caregivers. It is important for people living with dementia and their caregivers to socialize without fear of embarrassment from the stigma around the symptoms of dementia. Memory cafes provide a wide variety of social opportunities to meet new people or to visit with friends in a place where all can feel comfortable.

SPARK!

SPARK! provides the opportunity for people with dementia to visit and enjoy museums across the state of Wisconsin. The program offers special days and times for people with dementia and their families to enjoy all of the cultural experiences of a museum visit at a comfortable pace.

WI Music and MemoryMusic & Memory

The memories and feelings associated with a person’s favorite music remain strong for people living with dementia. The Music & Memory™ Program has shown how an individual’s favorite music can have a positive effect on their mood and level of engagement with the people around them.

Schools and youth groups

Wisconsin school curriculum

The state has created a unit on brain health that middle and high school teachers can use to teach students about brain health, dementia, and advocacy skills. People of all ages are affected by dementia. Approximately 23% of caregivers for those with dementia have a child living with them. Children want to understand dementia and they want to help.

Employers

Dementia cannot be ignored in the workplace. Wisconsin has an estimated 580,000 family caregivers, 63% of whom report difficulties balancing caregiving and work. Nationally, caregiving costs employers an estimated $25 billion annually in lost productivity. However, with support, employed caregivers can manage both their caregiving and workplace responsibilities. Becoming a dementia-friendly employer can help attract quality candidates, reduce turnover costs, and improve productivity.

Education

Employers can survey employees to understand the scope and needs of employed caregivers. They can also send a letter to employees to provide information and resources or offer educational programs during lunch or wellness events. Guest presenters may be arranged through aging and disability resource centers or other organizations.

Resources for caregivers

Employers can connect employees with resources, such as aging and disability resource centers, and provide information about the Family Medical Leave Act. Employers can also provide flextime, work-from-home, job-share, and other benefits to create space for caretaking responsibilities. They can also host caregiver support groups and provide opportunities for open discussion. 

Other Resources for employers
Last Revised: July 14, 2022

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