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Dementia-friendly communities/Dementia Friends

Prevention, DFCs, Awareness

This section is primarily focused on actions and commitments proposed within strategies which relate to the creation of “dementia-friendly communities”, “Dementia Friends” programmes or other community-based actions which aimed to allow people with dementia to stay in their communities for longer.

In some cases, there was significant overlap with other sections, e.g. awareness raising amongst non-health/ social care professionals, workforce development. As with other sections, the placement of items reflects their placement within the strategy from which it was taken.

Dementia-friendly communities (DFCs)

The Welsh strategy contained a number of proposed actions to improve public understanding about dementia. A key focus of the strategy is to work with the third sector and people with lived experience, expanding initiatives such as Dementia Friends, dementia supportive communities and organisations, and the creation of a “dementia-friendly generation”.

Additionally, the strategy commits local authorities and health boards to working with local communities and third sector organisations to encourage them to open their services to people with dementia, their families and carers, whilst ensuring the needs of people living with dementia are considered as part of the planning processes.

The Italian strategy aimed to improve the quality of life of persons with dementia and their families by supporting empowerment of people with dementia and a reduction in stigma associated with the condition, including ensuring people living in communities can be part of service planning.

The German strategic document contains a commitment from local authorities and municipalities improving the provision of accessible amenities and services. Similarly, the Luxembourg strategy commits to promoting the social inclusion of people with dementia and their families.

The Danish strategy aims to ensure that all 98 municipalities become dementia friendly. Resources allocated to this area include local and national activities to develop DFCs and information campaigns. In addition, the strategy includes a commitment to increase the level of dementia friendly housing, making assisted living housing more suitable for people with dementia and instituting a national labelling system for housing that is suitable for people with dementia.

Similarly, the Flanders strategy also commits to supporting municipalities to become more dementia-friendly.

The Slovenian strategy includes a commitment to promote activities of local communities to raise awareness and help combat stereotypes about dementia, providing educational content for relatives of people with dementia and informal carers.

The Finnish strategy focuses on improving societal attitudes towards brain health, memory disorders, dementia and people with dementia. The approach includes the creation of an online resource providing information about symptoms, memory disorders, dementia, research, treatment and rehabilitation. Similarly the Flanders strategy proposes a dementia-friendly “widget” for use on municipality websites.

The English strategy has a strong focus on dementia-friendly communities, with a number of actions to implement its objective. This includes working with the formal standards body and third sector to formalise dementia-friendly criterion with different levels for attainment. Businesses will be encouraged to become dementia-friendly and develop Dementia-Friendly Charters, tied into dementia awareness training. In addition, public, private and third sector organisations will be encouraged to be more engaged with local dementia alliances.

The Spanish neurodegenerative strategy commits to increasing the knowledge and awareness of the population about neurodegenerative diseases, including possible preventable factors, possibilities of rehabilitation, resources and services. Additionally, the strategy promotes cross-sectoral working (including patient organisations) to encourage participation and involvement in supporting people with these conditions.

Dementia Friends/other training

The English strategy commits to the Alzheimer’s Society delivering an additional three million Dementia Friends in England and turning Dementia Friends into a global movement. Additionally, “Dementia Friends Champions” will be offered support to take new opportunities and action, for example through dedicated volunteering networks.

The Dutch strategy commits to creating a society which is more dementia-friendly, with a specific programme (“Samen dementievriendelijk”) inspired by dementia projects in other countries, to improve societal understanding about how the public can help people with dementia and their carers. It offers a free online training course for the general public and 10 tailored online training courses for specific businesses, such as the banking, hospitality and retail sectors.

The Norwegian strategy proposes a three year programme of low-level educational courses for the public and service sectors to help improve understanding and openness about dementia amongst society. Similarly, the Swiss strategy proposes sector-specific materials for people likely to come into contact with people with dementia every day.

The Irish strategy commits the national health organisations to consider how best to promote better understanding of, and sensitivity to, dementia among staff of frontline public services. This point is also included within the Slovenian strategy.

The Finnish strategy proposes to build the components of a memory-friendly Finland, with targeted work at schools promoting the brain health and the importance of treating individuals with respect. The English, German and Welsh documents all propose similar approaches to ensure better intergenerational understanding of dementia, through the provision of materials and resources for schools and further/higher education settings in the case of England.


The Welsh strategy also notes that transport planners and operators should consider the needs of people living with dementia in the development of their services, with a commitment within the strategy to develop and undertake awareness training amongst transport workers.

The Scottish strategy makes a broader commitment around the national transport organisation examining what can be done to better support people with dementia to ensure transport is accessible.

Befriending/social isolation/loneliness

The Finnish strategy places responsibility on the third sector to work with local authorities to provide people with dementia and their families with opportunities to engage in social activities, access to peer support and information to help them cope with day to day life.

The German strategic document notes the commitment of the Federal Government to funding around 500 local alliances as help networks, 450 multi-generational centres as a starting point of caring communities and 300 contact points for older people to enable independent living. Related to this work, it notes the promotion of neighbourhood contact centres for older people to encourage and facilitate participation in their communities.

The Norwegian strategy has a considerable focus on the reduction of loneliness of people with dementia. It proposes to address this through voluntary work, through cooperation of public and private sectors, with the development of local strategies. Additionally, cooperation with the voluntary sector will be promoted through technology and expanded day activities.

The Scottish strategy contains a high level commitment to ensure more dementia-friendly and dementia-enabled communities, organisations and initiatives, with a specific commitment to working with partner organisations to explore the potential to promote and support increased participation in dementia befriending.

The Cypriot strategy commits to the establishment of dementia cafés similar to those in the UK or the Netherlands to support the socialisation and peer support of people with dementia and their carers, as well the provision of practical advice and emotional support.

The French neurodegenerative strategy prioritises mitigating personal and social consequences on everyday life for people with neurodegenerative conditions. In addition, the strategy identifies the need to help people with such conditions live within respectful, integrated and voluntary societies, prioritising social connections and combating isolation.


The German strategic document also addresses the issues of accessibility, both in terms of physical environments, and information and literature which were seen as barriers to participation.



Last Updated: Monday 29 April 2019


  • Acknowledgements

    This report received funding under an operating grant from the European Union’s Health Programme (2014-2020). The content of the Yearbook represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility; it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission and/or the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission and the Agency do not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains
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