What Makes a Community 'Dementia-Friendly?'

With a high number of elderly residents, the London suburb of Purley has taken steps to become "dementia-friendly." There's no single definition of what that means, but community awareness and education are a focus.

1 minute read

February 8, 2017, 10:00 AM PST

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc

Elderly Walking

Nejc Vesel / Shutterstock

Taking inspiration from age-friendly cities in Japan, communities in the UK are seeking to be more "dementia-friendly." Peter Watts writes, "The Alzheimer’s Society has designated 220 communities in England and Wales as dementia-friendly, aiming to reduce stigma around the disorder and improve safety and quality of life for those who experience it. The charity is campaigning for London to be the world’s first 'dementia-friendly capital city' by 2020."

Unlike "age-friendly," which often takes a higher policy view, "Dementia friendly is a much more specific lens, it's grassroots and very localised, usually focused around a high street. It's also more focused on training – getting people to understand needs.”

In places like Purley, local activists and service providers need to take the lead. "It's then down to community groups to contact a body like the Dementia Action Alliance, an umbrella organisation consisting of 150 groups working in the field, who can offer advice. This is an intensely localised concept, created so each community is able to adapt to specific needs."

"In the London borough of Lewisham, for instance, there has been a drive to persuade museums and arts venues to offer dementia-friendly activities, as well as working with shops, supermarkets and banks to provide slow lanes and special assistance."

Thursday, February 2, 2017 in The Guardian

Rendering of electric scooters, electric cars, light rail train, and apartments in background.

Arizona’s ‘Car-Free’ Community Takes Shape

Culdesac Tempe has been welcoming residents since last year.

February 14, 2024 - The Cool Down

Aerial view of New York City architecture with augmented reality visualization, blue digital holograms over buildings and skyscrapers

4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design

With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.

February 20, 2024 - ArchDaily

"It's The Climate" sign over street in Grants Pass, Oregon.

Oregon Town Seeks Funding for Ambitious Resilience Plan

Like other rural communities, Grants Pass is eager to access federal funding aimed at sustainability initiatives, but faces challenges when it comes to meeting grant requirements.

February 18, 2024 - The Daily Yonder

Close-up of bottom half of stroller being pushed onto sidewalk with no curb cut by person in jeans and brown shoes.

How Infrastructure Communicates Values

The presence and quality of sidewalks, curb cuts, and other basic elements of infrastructure can speak to much more than just economic decisions.

February 23 - Strong Towns

Greyhound and Amtrak buses at a temporary bus terminal in San Francisco, California.

Despite High Ridership, Intercity Bus Lines Are Eliminating Stations

Riders on the ‘forgotten stepchild’ of the U.S. transportation system find themselves waiting for buses curbside as Greyhound sells off its real estate in many U.S. cities.

February 23 - Governing

Buffalo, New York

Buffalo Residents Push Back on Proposed Cap Park

State and local officials say the $1 billion project will heal neighborhoods divided by the Kensington Expressway, but community members say the proposed plan will exacerbate already poor air quality in the area.

February 23 - Bloomberg CityLab

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.