Alexandria Receives Official “Dementia Friendly Community” Designation

The Dementia Friendly Alexandria coalition of City of Alexandria agencies, Goodwin House Alexandria and other organizations serving older adults, service providers and local businesses is excited to announce that Alexandria has received official designation from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging as a Dementia Friendly Community!

To celebrate the designation and spread Dementia awareness, the Alexandria Commission on Aging and Goodwin House Alexandria are co-hosting a community event with Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson, members of the City Council, and other stakeholders to describe the Dementia Friendly Alexandria initiative. The event will take place on Tuesday, July 30, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 301 King Street in the Sister Cities Conference Room on the first floor.  It will be a public event with members of the local media invited. 

What is a Dementia Friendly Community?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are currently around 50 million people living with dementia in the United States, with this number expected to increase to 80 million by 2030 and a staggering 152 million by 2050.  Dementia is a community issue that must be addressed at a community level. A dementia friendly community is informed, safe and respectful of individuals with dementia and their families, provides supportive options cross community sectors and fosters quality of life. Every part of the community has a unique role in fostering meaningful access to and engagement in community life for people living with dementia and their family and friend care partners. 

What is Dementia Friendly America?

Dementia Friendly America (DFA) is a multi-sector, national, regional, state and local collaboration seeking to advance dementia friendly communities across the United States. DFA fosters local community transformation using tools, resources and technical assistance designed to equip communities to better support people living with dementia and their care partners. The Dementia Friendly America movement began in September 2015 following the White House Conference on Aging and is based upon Minnesota’s statewide successful initiative, ACT on Alzheimer’s. Led by DFA, communities across the nation are taking action and becoming dementia friendly by leveraging tailored resources and tools for community sectors. There are more than 200 communities across 40 states in the process of becoming dementia friendly.

Dementia Friendly Alexandria

The Dementia Friendly Alexandria initiative is led by an action team of individuals, some of whom represent organizations such as Goodwin House Alexandria, nonprofit organizations supporting and serving older adults, local government entities, residential care services and home care providers, in addition to volunteers who are community members and caregivers.

Within our first year of designation, our action team will focus efforts on providing training to first responders and faith-based organizations who are often those most aware of persons with dementia. Another priority of our action team will be to raise awareness about dementia within the community by becoming Dementia Champions and providing members of the general community opportunities to become Dementia Friends. Our Dementia Friendly Alexandria action team members are passionate about serving those with dementia and their caregivers. We are sharing and spreading that passion with the Alexandria community as we advance awareness of dementia and provide support to make it easier for all of us to share the experience of living with dementia.

Get Involved!

If you would like to join our action team, please email Jackie Barbarito at jbarbarito@goodwinhouse.org or our email address at dfalexandria@goodwinhouse.org for more information. Feel free to pass along our contact information to those who may also want to get involved! 

We would like to thank our dedicated action team members for their hard work, as well as the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A) and LeadingAge Virginia for all of their support. We are eager to start our work within Alexandria to educate members of the community in order to create a safe and respectful environment for those living with dementia and their caregivers.