Dementia Friendly Evanston (DFE) is a community-wide education, outreach, collaboration and advocacy group with the mission to maximize the quality of life, community participation, and independence for Evanstonians living with dementia and their care partners. DFE’s vision is to create a welcoming and barrier-free community for individuals with dementia and their care partners through compassion, support and stigma reduction.
The DFE committee is, with the exception of one part time staff, an entirely volunteer, grass roots committee that consists of a broad cross-section of people, including care partners of people with dementia, social workers and mental health and health care professionals. DFE welcomes, encourages and facilitates the participation of individuals with AD and related dementias within their abilities. DFE is also joined by members of local organizations including home care agencies, Age Friendly Evanston, Evanston Community Foundation, Evanston Public Library, North Shore Village and Northwestern University.
Dementia Focus Groups
In conjunction with Dr. Angela Roberts, a Northwestern University faculty member and researcher in language and cognitive-communication disorders associated with neurodegenerative diseases, DFE has started to lead research based focus groups in the Evanston community to identify the needs of individuals with dementia and their care partners. These focus groups are deliberately diverse and look at the needs expressed in Evanston including under-represented communities.
Data from these focus groups were presented at the 2019 American Society on Aging National Conference and are expected to form the basis of efforts by Dementia Friendly Evanston moving forward. As such, identified stakeholders in the areas of government, healthcare, education and social services are actively engaged with Dementia Friendly Evanston in meeting the needs of Evanstonian families living with dementia.
Key partners include Mather Lifeways, Argentium Care, the Evanston Commission on Aging and Dr. Darby Morhardt from the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center (CNADC) at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.