Building Dementia Capable Systems: Transforming Communities through Care and Education

Dementia Capable Care and Systems Start with People





As Alzheimer's Disease and related dementias continue to rise at exponential rates, there is a pressing need for innovative solutions to address this growing epidemic. The concept of dementia capable systems has emerged as a vital initiative at the federal, state, and community levels to create a supportive environment for individuals living with dementia. Let's delve into the definitions of key terms such as dementia capable, dementia capable systems, dementia friendly communities, and dementia capable care, shedding light on the multifaceted approach required to combat this challenging issue.

Dementia Capable:

Dementia capable, as defined in the U.S. national dementia plan, encompasses activities and enjoyments that support the personhood of individuals living with dementia. It also emphasizes empowering care partners with knowledge, skills, and competency to enhance the quality of life for those affected. This broad scope recognizes the importance of addressing both the needs of individuals with dementia and those providing care.

Dementia Capable System:

According to the Administration for Community Living (ACL), a model dementia capable system involves various components that work cohesively to support individuals with dementia and their caregivers. These components include educating the public about brain health, identifying potential cases of dementia for timely diagnosis, ensuring program eligibility considers cognitive disabilities, and implementing quality assurance systems. Dementia capable systems prioritize person- and family-centered services, self-direction of services, and culturally appropriate care, aiming to create an inclusive and supportive environment.

Dementia Friendly Communities:

Dementia friendly communities, as defined by Dementia Capable North Carolina, are areas that prioritize being informed, safe, and respectful towards individuals with dementia and their families. These communities provide supportive options that foster a high quality of life for those affected. Creating dementia friendly communities involves community-wide awareness, education, and a commitment to understanding the unique challenges faced by individuals with dementia and their caregivers.

Dementia Capable Care:

Dementia capable care goes beyond traditional caregiving by focusing on reaching the person behind the dementia. It encompasses the knowledge, skills, empathy, and compassion needed for care partners to support and empower individuals with dementia to live their highest quality of life. By recognizing the individuality of each person with dementia, this approach seeks to preserve their dignity and enhance their well-being.

The challenge of addressing Alzheimer's Disease and related dementias requires a comprehensive and collaborative effort. Building dementia capable systems involves creating informed and supportive communities, educating the public, and empowering care partners with the necessary skills. By implementing these initiatives, we can transform our communities into inclusive environments that prioritize the well-being and quality of life of individuals living with dementia and their caregivers. The journey towards dementia capable systems is not only a healthcare imperative but a societal responsibility that requires collective action.

Find out how AGE-u-cate's Dementia Live® program is fueling the dementia friendly/dementia capable initiatives across the globe. 

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