Building Dementia-Friendly Communities - Webinar Series

May 15, 2023

nurse helping dementia patient

The Center for Aging, Health and Humanities’ Associate Director of Research Maritza Dowling received a University Seminar Series grant to fund a webinar series on Building Dementia-Friendly Communities. Expanding on the CAHH’s work to move towards a more age-friendly world, this 2021-2022 series brought together experts from different disciplines to discuss national initiatives for converting dementia-friendly principles into livable communities for people of all ages, including those experiencing memory loss.

President and CEO of LeadingAge Katie Smith Sloan presented the first webinar of the series, “What Does it Mean to be a Dementia-Friendly City?” This webinar provided a general overview of the dementia-friendly cities movement and the roles that various people and sectors in the community can play, including the importance of neighborhood environments in determining well-being among persons with dementia and their caregivers.

Diane Farsetta, the outreach specialist for the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing’s Center for Aging Research and Education, presented “Dementia Friendly Toolkit: Role Play Simulations for Care and Community Settings.” This webinar provided an overview of UW-Madison’s Dementia-Friendly Toolkit, which consists of training materials to build communication and advocacy skills to respectfully engage people living with dementia.

President of the IDEAS Institute Margaret Calkins and chair of the Simon Fraser University Department of Gerontology Habib Chaudhury presented the third webinar: “Environments to Improve the Quality of Life of People Living with Dementia.” This session provided a snapshot of innovations in built environments for persons with memory loss as well as community design features aimed at improving the physical environment, quality of life and safety of persons living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

Jeffrey Kaye, director of the Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the Oregon Health Science University, spoke on “Age-Friendly Research”. This session shared ongoing projects and extant research on the application of artificial intelligence to monitor changes in cognitive and functional abilities, including a discussion on how AI technologies can be used to make aging research as friendly as possible among individuals with memory loss.

Katherine Possin, endowed professor at the University of California-San Francisco’s Memory and Aging Center, presented “The Care Ecosystem: Telephone-based Care Navigation for People with Dementia and their Caregivers.” This concluding seminar provided an overview of a model of care available to Medicare/Medicaid patients with dementia and their caregivers via telephone as well as through other remote technologies to provide dementia care expertise, education and support.