Beginning the Process
- Find one or two people who will lead the initiative for the community. They can be anyone who has as interest in Dementia Friendly and that neighborhood.
- Develop a task force of interested community members. The more the better. These members should represent a variety of different sectors in the community. Different sectors can include people from; the community , library, local government, park district, first responders, businesses, healthcare, and faith communities, to name a few.
- Make sure to include the experience and voice of those living with dementia and their caregivers. They could be on your task force or asked for input in some way.
- Take on a few tasks to bring dementia awareness to your community.
Readiness and Recognition Criteria
- Connecting Across Sectors. DFA communities convene a cross-sector team across three or more community sectors to advance dementia friendliness. A cross-sector team includes at a minimum, government, clinical, community-based organizations and people living in community with dementia and their care partners. Ideally, all community sectors are represented on the cross-sector team.
- Inclusion and Leadership of People Living with Dementia. People living with dementia and their caregivers are key to leading and shaping dementia friendly communities. It is imperative that people living with dementia shape a dementia friendly community effort.
- Champion Organization and Coordination Capacity. Many DFA communities benefit from having an organization that is willing to champion, coordinate and, if needed, serve as a fiscal sponsor. The champion organization may help recruit and partner with a senior leader of local government in the effort (e.g. mayor; city council; other elected officials).
- Adoption and Communication of Dementia Friendly Practices and Change Goals. DFA communities foster sector-specific dementia friendly practices across their communities. The Dementia Friendly America toolkit guides communities through a step-by-step process that fosters adoption of dementia friendly practices in all parts of community. Communities may follow the step by step process or do sector-based outreach and training. Please indicate how your community plans to engage in dementia friendly work.
- Progress Tracking and Sharing. Communities will report progress by providing a current program description, upon request, and by completing periodic surveys.
To join the Dementia Friendly America network of communities:
- Complete the application summarizing how your community meets the readiness and recognition criteria
- Prove three or more letters of support representing different community sectors
- If your DFA community is in a state with a DFA state lead, please include an additional letter of support.
- Provide one-paragraph project description to be used for public dissemination.
Tips on the application process from members of Dementia Friendly recognized communities:
- Working on the application helps to make valuable connections across a community
- Don’t over think the process
- Have sample Letters of Support to share
- Check in with a mentor from Dementia Friendly Illinois. They have gone through the process and can provide suggestions.
- Susan Frick of the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center
- Emily Mysel of Glencoe
- Dorothy Pytel of Hyde Park
- Janie Urbanic of South Loop
- Mary Ferguson of Westmont
Below are a few sample applications from various communities in Illinois. Each community approaches the application a bit differently. Use these sample applications as ideas. The application from your community might be a different as it shares the unique ways Dementia Friendly aspects will be explored.
- Application for Decatur
- Application from Hyde Park
- Application for Princeton
- Application for Washington Heights in Chicago
- Application from Westmont
Sample Letters of Support
Each application should include at least three letters of support. These should be from different sectors in your community who are involved in the Dementia Friendly efforts. As with the application, letters of support may look different.
Here are some samples to help guide your process:
- Letter of Support – Libraries
- Letter of Support – Healthcare
- Letter of Support – Local Government
- Letter of Support – Area Agency on Aging
Some Dementia Friendly efforts begin with a Proclamation from the city or village. It is a way to kick-off your initiative by making a public statement. A Proclamation is not required for the application but is an element to consider at any point in your Dementia Friendly efforts.
Here are a few samples:
Your application is complete when you finished your responses to the Readiness and Recognition Form and have at least three letters of support. At that point, the entire application should be sent to Susan Frick for the final letter of support from the ICRN. Then the application should be emailed to Mary Ek and Darya Rahbar at National Association of Area Agencies on Aging for final approval.