Dementia Friendly Illinois is the work in progress to make Illinois recognized as part of the Dementia Friendly America movement. This page collects and shares resources to support the efforts of communities in Illinois to become part of the Dementia Friendly America movement.
Dementia Friendly Illinois is about working with persons with dementia and their support systems. All too often, persons living with or at risk for dementia feel alone and unheard. They feel left out from the activities in their community that promote well-being. Dementia Friendly Illinois is about reversing the narrative. Communities, big and small, can see the value in making their communities more dementia friendly. Dementia Friendly Illinois is about improving the journey of persons with dementia and their support systems.
Voices of People This Will Impact
Interview responses to “How can we create a more “Dementia Friendly America” together?
Dementia Friendly Illinois is supported Illinois Cognitive Resources Network. The Illinois Cognitive Resources Network (ICRN) is dedicated to making Illinois a national leader in the development and implementation of effective community-based models for adults to access research, education, training, and support services to promote cognitive health and quality of life Member organizations of the Illinois Cognitive Resources Network include volunteer health advocacy organizations focused on dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Centers along with Aging, Disability, and Public Health Networks in Illinois. Some, but not all members, are listed on another page of this website.
Building dementia friendly communities in Illinois is of significant importance to the families and persons living with or at risk for dementia. Based on the 2017 Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures report, it is estimated that 220,000 people in Illinois have dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease and by 2025 the number will increase by 18% to 260,000 people. If all the people with dementia lived in a single Illinois city, it would be the second largest after Chicago. When we take into account that each person with dementia has multiple informal caregivers, another 588,000 persons living in Illinois are impacted by dementia. Of course, all the people with dementia and their family do not live in a single community; they are living in every community in Illinois. Every one of these individuals has to navigate through their communities to support the well-being of a person living with or at risk for dementia. If they do not feel supported by their community, they start becoming isolated. Isolation leads to worsening well-being along with poor physical and mental health.
The key to developing a dementia-friendly community is to engage multiple community sectors in the planning and implementation.
Figure courtesy of Dementia Friendly America
Four Phases for Dementia Friendly Community Planning and Implementation
Dementia Friendly America has outlined 4 phases for dementia friendly community planning and implementation:
- Convene. Convene key community leaders and members to understand dementia and its implications for your community. Then, form an Action Team.
- Engage. Engage key leaders to assess current strengths and gaps in your community using a comprehensive engagement tool.
- Analyze. Analyze your community needs and determine the issues stakeholders are motivated to act on; then set community goals.
- Act. Act together to establish implementation plans for your goals and identify ways to measure progress.
General information about community planning can be found on the Dementia Friendly America website.
Sector Specific Resources
Some key sector specific resources provided by Dementia Friendly America include:
- Banks and Financial Services
- Neighbors and Community Members
- Legal and Advance Planning Services
- Government, Community, and Mobility Planning
- Health Care throughout the Continuum
- Communities of Faith
- Community-based Services and Supports
- Memory Loss Supports and Services
- Government: Emergency Planning and Response
Upon completion of the Dementia Friendly America Illinois Workshop on March 30, 2017 in Springfield, Illinois, Dementia Friendly Illinois should be listed as a resource on the Dementia Friendly America website (dfamerica.org). There is no set time limit for Dementia Friendly America to then provide general technical support to communities in Illinois desiring to engage in the process of becoming a part of the Dementia Friendly America movement. Dementia Friendly America provides a suggested timeline for communities to consider when going through the process of becoming more “dementia friendly.”
Dementia Friendly Illinois wants to support the recognition of at least one community in each Planning Service Area in the State as being part of Dementia Friendly America.
You can find a community planning toolkit and other national resources at the Dementia Friendly America’s website. You can find community sector state-wide resources and other information on this page. As local Illinois communities work through their planning and implementation processes, we will highlight the lessons they have learned on this webpage. Finally, if you are a community leader in need of more focused technical assistance, please contact ICRN at firstname.lastname@example.org.
State-wide Resources by Community Sector
- Illinois Healthcare Association
- Illinois Council on Long-term Care
- Illinois Nursing Home Administrators Association
- Illinois Long-term Care Nurses Association
- Illinois Library Association
- Illinois has three library systems – Chicago Public Library, Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) and Illinois Heartland Library System (IHLS). RAILS has created a “Serving Patrons with Dementia Group” which holds quarterly meetings and has a listserv and web page.
- The American Library Association has an Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Interest Group (IGARD). Although this is a national group, it doese include a “National Survey of Current Practices” where libraries self-identify if they offer programs and services to persons living with dementia. This can a good resource for communities to help them identify model libraries in their area to contact and emulate.
- Illinois Conference of United Church of Christ
- CJE SeniorLife
- Catholic Charities
- The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago
Community Based Services and Support
- Illinois Firefighter Association
- Illinois Police Association
- Illinois City/County Management Association