Examples of DF Programs and Services
To address gaps between the needs of people with dementia and the services available, dementia-friendly communities around the Commonwealth have implemented a variety of actions to better support their residents. Some cities introduced services to offer direct assistance to adults with memory loss and their care partners such as memory cafes and respite programs. Other communities created events or training workshops to educate the public at large about dementia. While none of these programs are required to be considered dementia-friendly, the following examples have brought positive changes to their communities when implemented.
Adult Day Programs and Respite Programs
Adult day programs and respite programs are set in secure locations and are designed to stimulate and engage adults with memory loss through peer socialization and participation in age-appropriate activities. Family members can entrust their loved one to professionals, allowing care partners the opportunity to attend to personal matters. Private organizations as well as select local Councils on Aging offer this service.
Dementia Friends Massachusetts
Dementia Friends Massachusetts promotes dementia awareness by educating individuals on how to be more sensitive and understanding of people with dementia in their community. Read about the differences between the Dementia Friendly Massachusetts and Dementia Friends Massachusetts, here.
Memory cafes are events that offer a comfortable setting with activities designed to encourage socialization and acceptance for people experiencing changes in memory and their care partners. Memory cafes are distinct, offering activities including musical entertainment, education sessions about dementia, and casual conversations. The hosting community determines where the cafe takes place: the local senior center, coffeehouses, museums, or other businesses.
To start a memory cafe in your community, consider using the Memory Care Toolkit.
To learn more about Memory Cafes, watch “Memory cafes: making space for dementia and joy” by Beth Soltzberg | TEDxWaltham: https://youtu.be/vje71rXP8Z0
Pizza & Proxy Parties
A key component of advance planning is determining a health care plan that reflects the desires of the individual. Honoring Choices, a partner of DFM, encourages local governments and businesses to host pizza parties during which residents learn about health care options and identify a health care agent. While Pizza & Proxy Parties are not exclusive for people diagnosed with dementia, it is crucial that recently diagnosed adults determine their intended future care and choose who will represent their interests when they are no longer able.
Purple Table Reservations
Participating restaurants in the Purple Table Reservations project offer special accommodations for people with dementia and other physical and cognitive disabilities, requiring staff training about dementia awareness and communication techniques.
Support groups are group sessions attended by participants regularly, offering emotional support or education to people with dementia and or their care partners. The intended audience of a support group ranges from people diagnosed with dementia to caregivers to children of people diagnosed. To find a local support group that addresses your needs, please follow the instructions at the Alzheimer’s Association Massachusetts/ New Hampshire chapter website, or call the Alzheimer’s Association hotline for more information: 800-272-3900.
Communities may offer special transportation services to the dementia population in their towns to ensure the security of their residents. Establishing a new transportation system is not necessary to provide dementia-friendly transportation choices. Dementia-specific training for employed drivers or escorted transportation services guaranteeing residents arrive at their destination could address the need for safe transportation options.
While dementia awareness is universally needed, particular sectors of the community play crucial roles in supporting and addressing the sensitive needs of people with dementia. Training can be offered in any workplace but may be considered essential for first responders and law enforcement who may encounter someone with dementia in a state of distress or paranoia.