Creating a Dementia Friendly Community

April 27, 2018

ACT-DFCommunity-PPT.jpgWith over 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, the volunteer driven ACT on Alzheimer’s understands the need for their services. This number will continue to rise as those in the baby boomer generation continue to enter the age of greatest risk for Alzheimer’s disease, creating a public health crisis and our state is not taking this lightly. The Minnesota born ACT on Alzheimer’s is a statewide collaboration that works tirelessly each day to help prepare Minnesota for the impacts of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. 

Dementia is defined by the Alzheimer’s Association as the general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is just one symptom. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Other symptoms of dementia may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Communication and language
  • Ability to focus and pay attention
  • Reasoning and judgement
  • Visual perception

Dementias are typically progressive, which means that symptoms will begin presenting themselves slowly and gradually increase. To be diagnosed with dementia, at least two of the core mental functions listed above must be significantly impaired. 

Launched in 2009 with intentions to better support individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their families, the ACT on Alzheimer’s comes together with health care providers, community members, government officials, caregivers, those with Alzheimer’s disease, and businesses to create a support system.

One initiative in 2018 to help create a dementia friendly community is the Dementia Friends Challenge. ACT on Alzheimer’s describes Dementia Friends as a global movement working to change the way people feel about dementia. Originating in the UK, the Dementia Friends initiative has made its way to Minnesota. Helping community members understand what exactly dementia is and how it affects people, we all can make a difference in the lives of those touched by this disease.

To become a Dementia Friend, you must participate in a one-hour session where you learn five key messages about dementia and what it is like to live with the disease. Once you have become a Dementia Friend, you apply this new knowledge and understanding to practical action to assist those living in your community. Visit the Dementia Friends Minnesota website to learn how you can become a Dementia Friend!

We are proud to say that we have several participants in this program working at Emerald Crest by Augustana Care and other Augustana Care affiliates. We work each day to help create a dementia friendly community, including: 

  • Raising awareness about Alzheimer’s disease, transforming attitudes, and encouraging others to act.
  • Providing resources, information and support to family and friend caregivers.
  • Promoting the dementia friendly concept and encouraging others to participate in making our communities healthier for everyone.
  • Ensure the communities that experience various inequities due to race, language, ethnicity, sexual orientation, culture, mental illness, physical or intellectual disabilities and economic status are also included.

So, join the movement and consider how you can help make your community dementia friendly. Together, we are changing the way people think, act and talk about dementia.

Located in Burnsville, Minnetonka, Shakopee, and Victoria, Minnesota, Emerald Crest by Augustana Care memory care communities are inspired by residents and families. With a deep knowledge of memory care, we offer a specialized assisted living setting for older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and similar conditions. Staff expertise allows us to create opportunities that go beyond conventional notions of memory care. To learn more, please visit

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For over two and a half years my husband was a resident. A former nurse, a good friend of mine, went with me to look over memory care facilities and, after a few moments at Emerald Crest we both agreed this was the place for Chuck. I was happy to visit there and observe their daily activities and how they engaged the residents and how caring all the staff was. I have even visited after my husband's death, because I wanted to see staff people again. We couldn't have made a better choice.

— Alice, wife of resident