Planning Dementia-Capable Communities

After lamenting our fear of dementia and sharing dementia-friendly responses to community design in other countries, this 2013 article from MINNPOST by Marlys Harris shares a bright spot in the US: the Minnesota statewide campaign to create “dementia-capable communities.”

Harris’ article highlights the work of the Minnesota group, ACT on Alzheimer’s, which has a goal of creating “dementia-capable communities.” ACT says. “a dementia capable community is informed, safe and respectful of individuals with the disease, their families and caregivers and provides supportive options that foster quality of life.”

ACT on Alzheimer’s has many resources for preparing Minnesota communities.  On their toolkit page they ask, “Is your community prepared for the impact of Alzheimer’s disease?”  The toolkit – free to download – has four steps / processes:

  1. Convene key community leaders and members to understand Alzheimer’s disease and its implications for your community. Then, form an Action Team.
  2. Assess current strengths and gaps in meeting the needs that result from the disease and related dementias, using a comprehensive community assessment tool.
  3. Analyze your community needs and determine the issues stakeholders are motivated to act on; then set community goals.
  4. ACT Together to establish implementation plans for your goals and identify ways to measure progress.