Changing the way people think, act, and talk about dementia


Banner Alzheimer’s Institute leads
the Dementia Friendly Arizona initiative,
which is supported largely by charitable
gifts to the Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation.

With Arizona anticipated to experience the highest increase in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias nationally in the coming years, programs and resources that help entire communities understand what dementia is and how it affects people are vital. To increase awareness and understanding, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute leads the Dementia Friendly Arizona initiative, an effort to ensure communities across the state are equipped to support people living with dementia and their caregivers. The program is supported largely by charitable gifts to the Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation.

“We know that people are happier and have better quality of life if they can live independently in their own homes for longer,” says Lori Nisson, director of Family & Community Services at Banner Alzheimer’s Institute. “To make that possible, we need dementia-friendly communities where more people understand dementia, there is less fear and avoidance of those living with the disease, and where people with dementia are included and supported within the community.”

According to Dementia Friends USA, the global movement behind the Dementia Friendly Cities initiative, the ideal dementia-friendly community has many features: health care that promotes early diagnosis and follows dementia best practices, residential facilities with memory loss services and supports, dementia-aware services such as legal and financial planning and emergency response, accessible transportation and public environments, and faith communities and local businesses that welcome people with dementia and their care partners.

Tempe was named Arizona’s first Dementia Friendly City at the White House conference on aging in 2015. Since then, other Arizona communities have officially been designated as dementia friendly, including Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Glendale, Goodyear, Surprise, and all of Pima County.

September is World Alzheimer’s Month, a time when individuals and organizations are encouraged to get involved in some way to change perceptions and increase public knowledge around dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The Banner Alzheimer’s Institute offers ways you can personally get involved:

Become a Dementia Friend

Dementia Friends seeks to change people’s perceptions of dementia by transforming how we think, talk and act about the disease. It’s a big project that asks for a small commitment, one hour of your time. You will learn the critical aspects to better understand dementia, how it affects people and how we each can make a difference in the lives of people living with dementia. Learn five key messages about dementia, common types and turn understanding into action. Find an information session.

Become a Dementia Champion

A Dementia Friend can participate in a Champions Training in order to help spread the word by providing one-hour sessions to family, friends and contacts within their community networks to help people understand how they can make a difference in the lives of people and families living with dementia. Find a Dementia Friends Champion training.

Support Family & Community Services Programming

Banner Alzheimer’s Institute offers an unparalleled comprehensive care model to meet both the medical and non-medical needs of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients and their care partners. These awareness initiatives, a variety of classes, support groups, music and movement programs, and seminars help families cope with caring for a loved one with the disease and connect them with vitally important education and resources. Make your tax-deductible gift online.