The use of the term “dementia-friendly” has emerged recently in the UK to describe different projects, initiatives and programmes looking to transform communities or places


Sonia Mangan
Making life better for people with dementia living in the community


“Dementia-friendly” has become part of the language of strategic planning in the public and third sectors, since the launch of the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia in England in 2012 included the creation of dementia-friendly communities as one of its three main objectives. However, its exact meaning is inconsistent.

Being “dementia-friendly” has also become an aspiration for specific organisations, for facilities and buildings and for services – sometimes as part of a wider commitment, sometimes stand-alone.   

DSDC does not believe there is a single model of “dementia-friendly”, or any need for one.  But it does advocate for objective measures of what is being promoted as “dementia-friendly” to ensure it is not just a popular phrase used to cover shallow or cosmetic change. In terms of what we do ourselves, DSDC aims to help any group or community work out what can be achieved on a sustainable basis given available local resources.

Real Communities

DSDC is an advocate for real dementia-friendly communities which:

  • support the total wellbeing, safety and social connection of people with cognitive impairment who are trying to live normal lives in local communities
  • nurture continuing understanding and collective action within varied communities, public facilities and support networks
  • recognise the critical role the arts and media play in framing dementia at a local level
  • people with dementia and carers themselves genuinely define as dementia-friendly