What makes a community dementia-friendly and where can you find such communities in and around Chicago? Here’s our comprehensive list.
What is a dementia-friendly community?
Most people living with dementia can remain active in their community with appropriate support. However, unfortunately, many people are unaware of how to interact effectively with those living with dementia or how to dare to be helpful. More and more communities are being trained to be dementia-friendly to ease the challenges posed by the disease to affected individuals, government entities, businesses, and civic groups.
In a dementia-friendly community, people are aware of and understand the disease, so that those with dementia can continue to live in the way they want to and in the community they choose. A dementia-friendly community is one that is taking action to foster quality of life for people living with dementia and their care partners by decreasing stigma, increasing opportunities for meaningful social interaction, and offering support in addressing the changing needs of people affected by the disease.
Dementia Friendly America, a movement that helps educate communities on ways to become dementia friendly started in 2015. Currently, there are 23 communities in Illinois that are dementia-friendly. In these communities, people living with the disease, their care partners and families are included and engaged in the planning process and are active members of the community.
Where to find dementia-friendly communities in Chicagoland?
Illinois was recognized as a Dementia Friendly State in 2017, as part of Dementia Friendly America. Currently, 23 communities in Illinois are designated as Dementia Friendly with many more in the process.
- Highland Park
- Hyde Park
- North Chicago/Lake County
- Oak Park
- River Forest
- South Loop
To view the complete list of dementia-friendly communities in Illinois, please go to Current Dementia Friendly Communities here.
Where to find more resources for support
Caring for a loved one with dementia is never easy. Take a look at the following resources you may find helpful for your caregiving journey:
- The Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association offers a support group, educational outreach, and other local programs.
- Chicago’s Caregiving Support Groups allow you to talk to people in similar situations and exchange experiences.
- The Illinois Family Caregiver Support Program offers access to a wide range of free and low-cost caregiver support programs and services.
- The Illinois Department of Human Services Adult Day Care program offers daytime care to eligible seniors over the age of 60.
- The City of Chicago’s Senior Centers offer outings, community events, classes, and a chance to get out of the house.
- Chicago’s Senior Games is an Olympic-style event for athletic seniors who want to compete, play, and get out of the house.
- Memory Cafés in Illinois are comfortable social gatherings that allow people experiencing memory loss to connect, socialize, and build new support networks.
Dementia-friendly initiatives are cropping up across various states and specific cities including many throughout Illinois, so you can search and see if your own community may be included in this list.
To learn more about dementia-friendly communities, you can watch this episode of our Facebook talk show series, Conversations on Care.