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P19. Dementia-friendly communities

Detailed programme and abstracts

P19. Dementia-friendly communities (Wednesday 2 Nov., 10.30 - 12.00)

P19.1. Dementia friendly society: developing good practice human resource management for dementia friendly workplaces


Creating dementia friendly workplaces for employees is a recent addition to the dementia friendly communities’ initiative in the United Kingdom (UK). The Alzheimer’s Society (2015) suggests there are many benefits for organisations that become dementia friendly, including; helping people with dementia to stay in work, and contributing to building a culture of respect and inclusion for all employees.  However, research in the Human Resource Management field has yet to engage with dementia and employment as an important and meaningful agenda. This could inform work organisation’s employment policies or practices to enable people with dementia to remain in employment post diagnosis for as long as they wish to do so, and they remain able to do so, with reasonable adjustments.  This is despite the ageing UK workforce and The Alzheimer’s Society (2014) estimates of 40,000 people under 65 diagnosed with dementia in the UK. The UK Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (2016) has proposed a shift from best to good practice, and towards ‘better work and working lives’ through a new agenda based upon professional principles, values and an ethics led approach to human resource management. 

This paper will report on a research project with two employers to explore the potential of this new principle and ethics informed perspective in meeting the needs of people with dementia in the workplace. Further, we will explore the potential to inform a broader human resource management research agenda which contributes to extending the dementia friendly community initiative into the workplace.

P19.2. Mobilising communities to be dementia friendly

TREE Philippa

The rationale for dementia-friendly communities came from the voices and experiences of people living with and affected by dementia. Communities need to be more dementia friendly so that people affected by dementia are included and empowered.

Alzheimer’s Society has been at the forefront of creating dementia-friendly communities, working with governments and members such as the Dementia Action Alliance.

The Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia (2012)set a target of 20 communities in England to be signed up to become dementia friendly by March 2015, but with a surge in demand and successful development we had 98 communities by this deadline. There are now over 140 communities and over 214 Local Dementia Action Alliances.

To ensure that all communities are working towards common, evidence-based standards that will truly change the things that matter to people affected by dementia, we developed a recognition process. This process rewards and recognizes communities working towards becoming dementia friendly. 

Communities registering for the process commit to meeting a foundation criteria (which was established in line with direct feedback from people with dementia) and focuses around the areas for action outlined by the BSI Code of practice for dementia-friendly communities.

This code of practice was published in 2015 by the British Standards Institution working in partnership with Alzheimer’s Society, a cross sector focus group and people affected by dementia. It provides recommendations for developing a dementia-friendly community, what areas to consider and what changes to expect as a result.

Following this the community is issued with a ‘working to become Dementia Friendly’ symbol and asked to complete regular reporting on their progress and activity.

We’re now looking at the most effective way to recognise all communities within a geographic location and allow communities such as universities, faith groups and others to be recognised as a dementia-friendly.

P19.3. Community engagement for dementia: a scoping review

BUSWELL Marina, RUSSELL Bridget, MAYRHOFER Andrea, BUNN Frances, GOODMAN Claire

Background: How we mobilize our communities into action to improve life for people affected by dementia is a key policy priority and community engagement is seen as one way to do this.

Methods: A scoping review was conducted to understand how community engagement for people affected by dementia is perceived to work, how this is expressed in different community engagement activities and how impact is assessed.

Results: Ninety-four UK and international documents were reviewed (7 case studies, 8 policy papers, 19 briefings, 28 evaluation reports and 32 research papers). Community engagement is an elusive concept, the literature was mainly descriptive with minimal evidence of how community engagement translated into action and outcomes. Of the 28 evaluations reviewed, just 11 had active input from people living with dementia.

The following characterized community engagement activities: awareness raising to normalize living with dementia, co-ordination and integration of services to be dementia aware and responsive, activities to increase participation and reduce social isolation, environmental adaptation and, digital technology to support orientation.

Raising awareness was seen as prerequisite for all of these approaches but the underlying drivers or motivations for community engagement were different. These could be conceptualized in three ways:

Initiatives driven by compassion and concern for the wellbeing of people affected by dementia.

Initiatives driven by cost-benefit or utilitarian analysis and recognition that current systems were not fit for purpose.

Initiatives with a social justice/disability rights/citizenship based perspective that people affected by dementia should not be excluded.

Conclusion:This review is one of the first to synthesize the available evidence on community engagement for people affected by dementia. It provides an overview of what is known but more importantly, makes explicit the theoretical assumptions that inform the delivery of different community engagement initiatives.

P19.4. Creating enabling environments in historic cultural buildings – the challenges and the benefits.


In 2014 the King’s and Festival Theatres noticed that some Friends and Patrons who had supported the Theatres for many years had stopped attending performances. One couple in particular had played an active role in the theatre community and when they were contacted by staff it was discovered that the ladies husband had been diagnosed with dementia. As a result, he no longer felt confident coming to the theatre.

Theatre staff asked the question: ‘is there something we can do as an organization for people living with dementia to enable them to continue coming to the theatre?’

In April 2015 the Theatres received a three year grant from the Life Changes Trust to explore this question. At the end of the first year the Festival theatre, with its 1928 auditorium and 1994 foyers had received a full audit by the Dementia Services Development Centre in Stirling. Working with people with dementia and using the audit as a guide changes have been made with dementia friendly design at its heart. This presentation will highlight these adaptations using the voices of people living with a diagnosis, their insights and experience of how these adaptations can remove the disabling effect the environment can have and how we can improve them even more.

In tandem to creating dementia friendly environments the Theatres now also have an extensive programme of dementia friendly events and will be hosting Scotland’s first Dementia Friendly performance of a major touring musical in October 2015.

P19.5. Supporting communities to be dementia friendly: the Irish toolkit


In order to address the exclusion of people living with dementia, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI) led a new initiative in the form of Dementia Friendly Communities (DFC). From the outset the ASI was committed to providing and demonstrating thought leadership in the development of DFC.

A key element of the initiaitive was to develop a toolkit of resources that was used by each of the DFC projects to support them in their work.  This presenation will showcase the key elements of the toolkit and how their development was informed by the needs of the projects throughout the lifespan of the initiative.

Each of the seven projects involved in this initiative submitted regular monitoring reports and a final report, which presented an extensive review of the activities that were undertaken, the challenges faced and the successes achieved.  Using the information compiled from these reports a comprehensive booklet on how to create a DFC was developed using the learning from each of the seven projects.  The guide incorporates the key elements required for creating a DFC, case study examples of activities undertaken and an outline of the project’s challenges and learnings.

The toolkit also contains useful information guides for a variety of service providers that work with people with dementia from emergency services to leisure facilities on how to be dementia friendly.  The toolkit also has a number of useful fact sheets about dementia presented in a clear and accessible way through infographics.

P19.6. Improving the lives of (future) people with dementia in the Netherland: our dementia friendly programme

van WEZEL Nienke, MEERVELD Julie

Background: The standard of care for people with dementia in the Netherlands is relatively high. But improvements are both possible and necessary. Our future age demographic of the Dutch population will shift, families grow smaller, and the number of single-person households increases. That means that people who suffer from dementia will have fewer people to rely on in the near future. Therefore a national five year dementia friendly programme (2016-2020) was launched in May 2016 which aims to increase the awareness, understanding and knowledge regarding how to act upon dementia and to raise support of people with dementia and carers in daily life in a way they appreciate. 

Methods: The public campaign raises awareness and activates people and companies to become Dementia Friendly. This calls for a stepwise approach. After registration as dementia friend on the online platform people or companies are tempted to gain more knowledge about dementia through following either the online course of participate in the offline course and then contribute in their own (business) way to a dementia friendly society. The service desk is the back office of this program, which is not visible to the outside world.

Results: In five years one million people in the Netherlands are aware of dementia and 310.000 of them became actively engaged friends. The friends become the pivotal point in the movement to raise more understanding, awareness and knowledge in the Netherlands. Side effect of raising awareness is too break the taboo around dementia even further down.

Conclusions: From 2016 till December 2020 The National Dementia Friends programme will be enrolled in the Netherlands. The essence is for people to learn more about dementia and learn how to deploy that knowledge into helping someone with dementia, or informal caregiver. Various tools are used including a national campaign, an online platform, social Media, training modules, and a service desk.



Last Updated: Tuesday 10 January 2017


  • Acknowledgements

    The 26th AE Conference in Copenhagen received funding under an operating grant from the European Union’s Health Programme (2014-2020). Alzheimer Europe and Alzheimerforeningen gratefully acknowledge the support of all conference sponsors.
  • European Union
  • Roche