Alzheimer’s Society inspires dementia friendly communities across globe

A report launched today (21 April) at the 31st International Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International ‘ADI’ in Budapest asserts Alzheimer’s Society as a global leader in tackling dementia and calls for recognition of the human rights and dignity of people with dementia.

'Dementia Friendly Communities: Key Principles and Global Developments’ released today, examines how dementia friendly communities around the world are creating greater awareness of dementia, improved access to services and respect for the rights of people with dementia

The report highlights Alzheimer’s Society’s huge success with its Dementia Friendsand Dementia Friendly Communities programmes and how the charity is supporting countries around the world to develop their own initiatives.

  • Dementia Friends is the UK’s biggest ever initiative to change the way people think, act and talk about dementia, tackling the stigma resulting in social exclusion. There are now 1.5 million Dementia Friends in the UK, and with Alzheimer’s Society’s help, nine countries detailed in the new report are developing their own programmes, including; Nigeria, Canada, Germany, Gibraltar, Israel, Mauritius, China, Scotland and Indonesia.
  • Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friendly Communities programme sets out to create more communities and businesses that are dementia-friendly, so that people affected by dementia feel understood and included. Alzheimer’s Society has created 152 Dementia Friendly Communities in England and is providing support and guidance to 12 Dementia Friendly Communities projects in Australia, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands and Turkey.

Alzheimer’s Society support case study:

Nigeria: Alzheimer’s Society has been working closely with Nigeria to help launch their own Dementia Friends Programme. From assisting with the resources that need to be developed, through to marketing advice, operations guidance and other important aspects of the programme. Prior to the launch of Dementia Friends Nigeria, many people from across communities were taken through the resources; from chiefs of entire villages and religious leaders to those who work in schools and hospitals. Their Dementia Friends total already stands at over 67,000. 

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

'Dementia is the biggest health crisis facing the world today with over 46 million people living with the condition, with this number set to rise to over 100 million by 2050.

'One of the biggest challenges in creating Dementia Friendly Communities is getting people to talk about dementia. Dementia Friends has proved to be a great springboard to galvanise and encourage global dementia action. Collaboration between countries is crucial to create a global change and a worldwide societal shift towards acceptance, inclusion and support for people living with dementia and their carers. This report is a key tool for organisations to continue to push forward, share vital resources and tackle stigma on an international scale.'

ADI Chair Glenn Rees said:

'The reports showcase more than 100 projects across the world showing the many different ways in which dementia friendly communities can be brought to life.

'Benefits include not only improved access to health and care that are critical to the independence of people with dementia, but also to the everyday things in life such as banks, retail, volunteering, hobbies and leisure activities.

'The outcomes of dementia friendly projects range widely but, but all include greater awareness of dementia, improved access to services and respect for the rights of people with dementia.'

Kate Swaffer, Chair and CEO of Dementia Alliance International, said:

'Only by involving people with dementia at the heart of these initiatives, and engaging them fully in the community, will we succeed where previous generations have failed in protecting the rights of people with dementia.

'Across the world the majority of people with dementia live in the community and their quality of life depends on being engaged with the community and having a purpose in life,'