What is Dementia Friendly Massachusetts (DFM)? Dementia Friendly Massachusetts is an initiative of the Massachusetts Councils on Aging and a member of Dementia Friendly America. The state-wide grassroots movement, generously supported by the Tufts Health Plan Foundation, comprised of organizations, individuals, and municipalities growing dementia friendly communities.
The goal of DFM is to increase the number of municipalities around the Commonwealth that commit to supporting those living with dementia, their families, and care partners, by signing the DFM pledge. To help communities to become dementia-friendly, DFM offers educational and networking events, access to online resources, and guidance from the DFM project manager.
Why is this movement necessary?
An estimated 130,000 people in Massachusetts live with Alzheimer’s disease, and the number is expected to climb. The Commonwealth’s population is aging at a faster rate, with Massachusetts now having more residents over the age of 60 than under the age of 20.
What is a dementia-friendly community?
Dementia-friendly communities address the needs specific to their residents, advocating for dementia awareness and providing services, programs, and public spaces that support people with dementia and their care partners. Each dementia-friendly community is different. Some towns organize workplace training so professionals can identify and offer solutions to problems commonly encountered with people living with dementia. Other regions focus on introducing programs like memory cafes or respite programs to directly assist people with memory loss. All dementia-friendly communities share one thing: a mission to make their neighborhood inclusive, welcoming those touched by dementia to continue to be active, contributing citizens.
What are the benefits of being a dementia-friendly community?
The Dementia Friendly Massachusetts organization formally acknowledges communities that sign the DFM pledge by awarding a Certificate of Recognition. By accepting this certificate, citizens and local government pledge that they will be accountable for promoting inclusivity and humanity by acknowledging the human dignity of individuals living with dementia, by providing supportive programming, welcoming environments, and opportunities to learn about dementia.
Dementia-friendly communities provide programs, services, and a welcoming environment for older adults that can support their decision to age-in-place. Older adults can take comfort in knowing that should they experience dementia, they can still engage in activities and events, contribute to the local economy and be respected by community members.