Dementia Friends USA

About Dementia Friends USA

Dementia Friends is a global movement that is changing the way people think, act, and talk about dementia. Developed by the Alzheimer’s Society in the United Kingdom, the Dementia Friends USA initiative is administered by USAging. By helping everyone in a community understand what dementia is and how it affects people, each of us can make a difference for people touched by dementia.

Dementia is caused by a number of diseases that affect the brain. The most common is Alzheimer’s but diseases also include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and Pick’s disease. Different types of dementia affect the brain at different rates and in different ways, but other things like someone’s personal circumstances, the people around them and the environment in which they live, will affect their experience of dementia. Dementia progresses in a way that is unique to each individual. It is true that more people over 65 have dementia but it is not exclusively an older person’s disease; younger people get dementia too.

People with dementia sometimes need a helping hand to go about their daily lives and feel included in their local community. To provide this helping hand, Dementia Friends aims to give people an understanding of dementia and the small things that they can do to make a difference. From helping someone to find the right bus, to spreading the word about dementia on social media – every action counts!

The Dementia Friends program focuses on five key messages that we believe everyone should know about dementia:

Dementia is not a normal part of aging.
Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain.
It is not just about losing your memory.
It’s possible to live well with dementia.
There is more to the person than the dementia.

What is a Dementia Friend?

A Dementia Friend or Dementia Friends Champion is someone who has a better understanding of dementia, will know how to engage with and support people living with dementia in their communities and workplaces, and has committed to taking a practical action to help people with dementia, contributing to a dementia-friendly community. From telling friends about the Dementia Friends program to visiting someone you know living with dementia, every action counts. Anyone of any age can be a Dementia Friend – we all have a part to play in creating dementia-friendly communities!

How to Get Involved

There are lots of ways to get involved with Dementia Friends, whether you have a lot of time to give or a little:

  • Become a Dementia Friend by completing the online session.
  • Become a Dementia Friend by attending a live interactive session in your area.
  • Volunteer as a Dementia Friends Champion and inspire others to learn a little more about dementia and how they can help through big actions and small actions – those living with dementia in their communities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I need to befriend someone with dementia?

Dementia Friends is not a befriending initiative. Dementia Friends and Dementia Friends Champions should not be seeking relationships with people with dementia outside the relationships that they already have.

Can organizations get involved in Dementia Friends?

We encourage all types of organizations from large to small across the private and public sectors to roll out Dementia Friends to their workforce by offering a live session for their workplace or suggesting they participate in an online session. To offer a live session for your workplace, contact your Dementia Friends state lead for more information.

How do I find a live Dementia Friends session in my state?

You can find a session in your state by visiting the Dementia Friends Directory.

How do I start a Dementia Friends program in my state?

To find out more about starting a Dementia Friends program in your state, visit the State Licensure page.

What is a Dementia Friends Champion?

A Dementia Friends Champion is a volunteer who goes through a training that prepares them to encourage others to make a positive difference to people living with dementia in their community. A Dementia Friend Champion can lead a live Dementia Friends session that gives people information about the personal impact of dementia, and what they can do to help.

How do I become a Dementia Friends Champion?

To learn more about becoming a Dementia Friends Champion, contact the Dementia Friends program in your state.