The Dementia Friendly Massachusetts (DFM) initiative is a multi-sector approach to creating supportive dementia friendly communities. Dementia friendly communities are safe, informed, and respectful and engage all members of the community to meet the needs of the growing number of people living with dementia to remain part of the fabric of our vibrant community life.
The Massachusetts Councils on Aging (MCOA) are the “backbone” organization of the DFM initiative and the leadership team includes Jewish Family & Children’s Service, the Mass. Executive Office of Elder Affairs, the Alzheimer’s Association of MA/NH and the Mass. Healthy Aging Collaborative (MHAC).and
MHAC and DFM encourage the integration and alignment of age- and dementia friendly initiatives. The Mass. Executive Office of Elder Affairs spearheaded the creation of a first-in-the-nation toolkit (see below) to simplify a community or region’s work to meet the needs of residents as they age. It brings together resources from the national and global age-friendly and dementia friendly movements and directs users to guidance, examples, and case studies.
According to JF&CS, which promotes and supports memory cafés across the state: a Memory Café is a welcoming and supportive place for people with forgetfulness or other changes in their thinking and for their family and friends. Memory cafés meet at a variety of venues, including coffeehouses, museums, or community organizations, at a consistent day and time.
Each memory café is different. Some cafés invite guest artists, some offer education about memory changes, and some are just for relaxing and chatting. But all cafés share one goal: to help guests feel comfortable and to know that they are not alone. Cafés are a place to talk with others who understand what you are going through, to forget about limitations and instead focus on strengths, to enjoy other’s company, and to explore something new.
For more information and to find a Memory Café near your community, see the state directory managed by JF&CS here. If a group is interested in starting a Memory Café, JF&CS has a toolkit available here.
Dementia Friends is a global movement that is changing the way people think, act, and talk about dementia.
JF&CS is leading Dementia Friends in Massachusetts by training volunteer Champions who use Dementia Friends materials to offer hour-long information sessions in their community. Participants in these friendly and interactive Sessions will increase their understanding of dementia and think about the small things that each person can do to make a difference for people affected by dementia in their community. No action is too small!