Dementia Friendly Communities

The Dementia Friendly Communities social movement is driven by the ever-increasing number of older adults living with dementia, demands on their family care partners, and widely held misbeliefs, fear, and stigma about dementia.  The movement strives to educate and engage all members of the community to support persons living with dementia and their care partners to comfortably participate in desired activities .  Csomay Center and Iowa GWEP leaders are collaborating to advance adoption of Dementia Friendly Community (DFC) principles and practices among students (the future generation of practice change leaders), health practitioners, social service providers, and community members.  One initiative is to adapt the DFC approach for large senior living communities that, in turn, act as a catalyst for change in their local town or city.

Brief training materials, links to expert resources, and information about upcoming events are provided to help advance the adoption of Dementia Friendly Community principles and practices by individuals, senior living communities, and villages, towns, and cities throughout Iowa and nationwide.

Training Materials

Dementia Friendly Communities Overview

Ever-growing numbers of persons living with dementia and family care partners highlights the need to improve respect and success in daily living. This program describes the need for dementia friendly approaches, community development and training methods advanced by Dementia Friendly America, and highlights the Dementia Friendly Cedar Valley, the first dementia friendly community in Iowa.

Dementia Friends Overview

Dementia Friends is designed to help community members learn how to support people living with dementia by promoting 5 key messages, including “it is possible to live well with dementia” and “there is more to the person than the dementia.”  This program provides a brief history of Dementia Friends, describes two ways to become a Dementia Friend, and highlights how to join Dementia Friends Iowa.

Dementia Friendly Approaches in Senior Living

Dementia friendly social movements like Dementia Friendly America and Dementia Friends were designed for community members, but can also be applied in senior living settings. This program reviews how principles of dementia friendly care can be applied to staff and older adult training in senior living setting to promote a climate of acceptance, respect, and dignity for member living with dementia and their family care partners.

Dining and Dementia-Friendly Communication

Food service workers are important members of care team in many senior living and nursing care settings, but may lack understanding of how dementia may impact the behavior and needs of persons they are serving.  This program provides a brief overview of the Dementia Friendly movement, then describes how dementia may impact people using food services, and approaches that staff may use to help the person living with dementia be as successful as possible. Author: McKenna Kephart, UI College of Nursing Honors Student.

Malnutrition and Dementia: Best Practices in Care of the Older Adult Population

The purpose of this training is to educate both direct caregivers and staff in local nursing homes/assisted living to identify malnutrition and implement strategies to prevent malnutrition in residents with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. 

Additional Resources

We gratefully acknowledge support of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Iowa Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP), project #U1QHP28731; Western Home Communities, Cedar Falls, IA for their participation in the senior living translation project; Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging, Waterloo, IA, for their first-in-Iowa Dementia Friendly Cedar Valley initiative under Dementia Friendly America; Karen Love, Executive Director of the Dementia Action Alliance; and Meredith Hanley, Community Capacity Building Director, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging that oversees Dementia Friendly America and Dementia Friends USA.