The Dementia Friendly Massachusetts Initiative (DFMI) is a statewide effort to spark and support dementia friendly systems and grassroots programs across Massachusetts. A "dementia friendly community" is informed, safe, and respectful and enables people living with Alzheimer's or a related neurocognitive disorder, and those who care about them, to live full, engaged lives. Our goal is to help all communities in the Commonwealth to become more dementia friendly.
The Connection Newsletter
We welcome you to the fourth issue of The Connection, celebrating accomplishments from our first year together and envisioning a vibrant and robust second year of Dementia Friendly Massachusetts.

We are grateful to Tufts Health Plan Foundation for its support of the Dementia Friendly Massachusetts Initiative from its inception.

Below you will find news and resources from around Massachusetts. Please forward this newsletter to your colleagues and lists. We have added a new section, Spotlight on Age- and Dementia-Friendly Alignment. We welcome your feedback and suggestions, as well as examples of how this newsletter has impacted your work. Note: The information below has been provided by communities and edited for clarity and length by the Dementia Friendly Massachusetts team. 

The deadline for submissions for the next issue of The Connection is Friday, October 27. Please submit only resources, activities, or approaches that other communities can learn from on an ongoing basis. We cannot accept time-sensitive submissions. Click here to submit your news today.
August 2017 Edition
Spotlight on Support Groups
Spotlight on Collaboration and Inclusion
Spotlight on Age- and Dementia-Friendly Alignment
Spotlight on Memory Cafés
Tools and Resources
News from the Dementia Friendly Massachusetts Initiative
Articles and News from Around the World
Innovation Award Given
Come 2 B Dementia Friendly, the dementia friendly communities project in the Metrowest area, has been awarded an Innovation Award from the Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging (MCOA). The award highlights the success of the communities of Hudson, Marlborough, and Northborough. It also recognizes the achievements of the individuals who brought their communities together: Janice Long (Director, Hudson Senior Center), Trish Pope (Executive Director, COA and Senior Center, Marlborough), and Kelly Burke (Director, Northborough Senior Center). Arthur Bergeron, Esq. was also recognized for his role, as was BayPath Elder Services. For more information, contact Christine Alessandro, Executive Director at BayPath Elder Services, at or 508-573-7200. 

Purple Tables Dinner Reservations 
Purple Table Reservations are designed for those who are living with Alzheimer's or another dementia, Autism, PTSD, a hearing or vision impairment, or other physical or cognitive condition that may benefit from accommodations from trained restaurant staff when dining out. When making a Purple Table Reservation at a participating restaurant, no personal details need to be given. Restaurants can register with Purple Table Reservations to be added to the online listing and app. Customers will be able to search geographically for restaurants in their area, by zip code, and by restaurant amenities/cuisine via the website or app. Customers may choose to register on the Purple Table Reservations website in order to save their favorite locations, submit reviews of their experiences, and learn about Purple Table events and promotions. Tell your favorite restaurant about Purple Table Reservations! 

Visit or email Jenifer to learn more.

Innovative Outreach Using PSAs
The Quincy Health Department and Quincy Access Television have produced a series of Public Service Announcements regarding dementia. The clips feature three different scenarios: eating out in a restaurant, walking around the city, and driving through the city. In each case, the person featured is living with dementia. Each PSA is aimed at helping people to recognize the signs of dementia. These were done as part of the Dementia Friendly Quincy Initiative, a partnership between Mayor Thomas Koch, the Quincy Council On Aging, and the Quincy Health Department.

Visit to view the PSAs.

Dr. Bill Thomas Tour
On June 19, JGS Lifecare hosted Dr. Bill Thomas' Changing Aging Tour, a tour that is crisscrossing the country, bringing communities a new and highly disruptive understanding of dementia and the aging process. Dr. Thomas, a graduate of Harvard Medical School and an international authority on geriatric medicine and eldercare, challenged audience members to reject ageist stereotypes and embrace dementia and aging as a rich process of growth through an afternoon performance entitled "Disrupt Dementia" and an evening performance of "Aging: Life's Most Dangerous Game." The day also included a lunch underwritten by AARP that hosted representatives of area eldercare providers in an effort to begin a community conversation on how organizations can work together to create a community that views dementia in a positive light and as a natural process of aging. It was the perfect preliminary step in getting the Greater Springfield healthcare community collaborating and a natural precursor to a community discussion on creating a Dementia Friendly Community. For more information, contact Mary-Anne Schelb at or 413-567-6212, ext. 3105.

Visit to learn about Dr. Thomas' views on dementia.

L.E.A.P.: Program Aids Law Enforcement & Vulnerable Community Members
To further its commitment to assisting law enforcement and community members, MedicAlert has created the LEAP program. This program provides free MedicAlert jewelry and services to community members at risk for wandering, aids officers in the search for a missing community member, and provides emergency training about wandering for officers. MedicAlert works with the families of missing loved ones and local law enforcement (along with local support agencies, such as the Alzheimer's Association) to create a community network system that aims to quickly find the missing individual, ensure they receive medical care if needed, and reunite them with family.

Visit for more information.

New Appointment at Hebrew SeniorLife
Hebrew SeniorLife (HSL), the largest provider of senior health care and communities in New England and an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, has named Gary Epstein-Lubow, M.D. as Medical Director for the organization's planned center of excellence for Alzheimer's disease and memory care. His appointment will begin in September. Dr. Epstein-Lubow will build and oversee HSL's Alzheimer's disease and memory care program, which will deliver comprehensive clinical services for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders, along with their families, through clinical care, education, advocacy, and research. He and the program's team will serve seniors from the broader community as well as those from HSL's system of health care and housing communities.

For more information, contact Courtney Howe at courtneyhowe@hsl.harvard or 617-363-8267. 

Dedication of Alzheimer's Park in Leominster
The City of Leominster dedicated its Central Park to Alzheimer's awareness with the support of public and private donations along with in-kind services. Located at the intersection of Route 12 and Route 117, this park includes an engraving program with granite pavers. Anyone can participate and sponsor! The Alzheimer's theme is represented with purple flowers and nightly special purple lighting to symbolize and honor caregivers and those living with dementia.

For more information, contact Lisa Marrone, City of Leominster's Economic Development Coordinator, at or 978-534-7525 x257.

Music & Memory Expands to the Somerville-Cambridge Area 
Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services recently incorporated the Music & Memory (SM) program into their range of services available to clients in the Greater Boston area. The grant-funded program uses music to trigger memories and help people living with dementia connect with the outside world by providing each participant with an iPod and a tailored playlist of music that's meaningful to them.

Read more about this program here. For more information contact Rory Silvia at or 617-628-2601.  

Spotlight on Support Groups

New Support Groups for Early Stage Alzheimer's/Dementia
The Alzheimer's Family Support Center (AFSC) presents two new support groups for people in early stages of Alzheimer's/dementia: the third Tuesday of the month, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., at Cape Cod Hospital; and the first Wednesday of the month, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Sandwich. Simultaneous groups for caregivers are also available. Groups are part of the comprehensive array of free services offered by the AFSC.

For information, email,visit their website, or call 508-896-5170.

Southeastern Massachusetts' Educational Support Groups
A myriad of support groups are offered throughout Southeastern Massachusetts providing an opportunity for caregivers affected by Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia to share their experiences and receive information, guidance, and support regarding care planning strategies. Hope Dementia & Alzheimer's program currently holds eight support groups throughout southeastern Massachusetts in the following towns: Mashpee, South Dennis, Bourne, Brockton, Fall River, Hyannis, Plymouth, and Wareham.

For more information and to register, call 508-775-5656.

Over 100 Support Groups Statewide
The Alzheimer's Association MA/NH Chapter hosts more than 120 groups to support persons living with dementia and their loved ones. Support groups are confidential meetings of persons diagnosed with Alzheimer's or their caregivers. Some groups meet monthly, others weekly, and they are free and open to anyone. The groups are not run by the Alzheimer's Association, but the Association does provide group facilitators with training and support. Group facilitators are asked to sign confidentiality agreements and conflict of interest forms with the Alzheimer's Association. 

To find Support Groups near you, please visit their website and search under Alzheimer's Association Programs and Events/Support Groups. 
Spotlight on Collaboration and Inclusion

Dementia Friendly Quincy - a Two-Pronged Approach
Dementia Friendly Quincy is a partnership between the Mayor, Council on Aging, and the Health Department. The initiative focuses on training municipal employees, organizations, and business partners throughout the city to assist those with memory loss/dementia so they can feel safe and remain independent in the community for as long as possible. The program provides a two-pronged approach consisting of: 1) education, including specialized education for first responders, about how to effectively approach those with cognitive issues; and 2) "The Dementia Experience" wherein participants experience simulated cognitive changes and age-related disabilities while they attempt to perform timed tasks in a room with distractions. Since August of 2016 Quincy has trained approximately 700 municipal employees and has run several train-the-trainer programs. The new focus is training for community business partners and organizations. 

For information, contact Ruth Jones at 617-376-1286 or Linda Bowes at 617-376-1245.

Becoming More Inclusive - Lessons from the Dementia Action Alliance Conference 
Christine Alessandro and Emily Kearns represented Dementia Friendly Massachusetts at the Dementia Alliance's first annual national conference held June 25 - 27 in Atlanta, called, Re-Imagine Life with Dementia - Engage.Empower.Enable. Christine and Emily learned useful tips from networking and presentations - especially from the DAA Advisory Council comprised solely of individuals living with dementia who shared their experiences, vision, and strategies. Key take-aways include: 1) reframe our perspective on dementia and change our language from "suffering with dementia" to "living with a disability;" 2) make all our meetings and communications inclusive and accessible for those living with dementia by slowing down, allowing for questions as they emerge, reducing distracting noises, and having meetings with fewer people to allow space and time for full participation by individuals needing more time to process and to speak; 3) create opportunities for mentoring and advocacy, generating a real sense of purpose for all participants. 

For more information, contact Emily at or Christine at Visit to learn more about the Dementia Action Alliance.
Spotlight on Age- and Dementia-Friendly Alignment

Barnstable Area Age- and Dementia-Friendly Efforts
Barnstable County Department of Human Services' top priority initiatives for healthy aging include engaging Cape Cod leaders in a regional age-friendly initiative called "Healthy Aging Cape Cod." This work joins other Department activities and services, such as the Regional SHINE Program, joint coordination of the Barnstable Prevention Partnership, which works to prevent hypertension, diabetes, and falls among older adults; and offering online resources including an Aging and Disability Resource Center and a Health and Human Service Directory.

For more information, contact Patty Watson at or 508-375-6630. 

Cape Ann Cable Show on Age- and Dementia Friendly Efforts
Cape Ann TV invites you to watch a 26 minute interview with Scott Trenti, Executive Director of SeniorCare, and Emily Kearns, Dementia Friendly Massachusetts Coordinator, discussing Cape Ann's age- and dementia-friendly initiative. 

For more information, contact SeniorCare at or 978-281-1750. 
Webinar Helps Start-up of Spanish-Speaking Memory Cafés
A free, 25 minute webinar in Spanish about starting a Spanish-speaking memory café is now available for viewing at: At this webpage you can watch the video, download the slides, and also download the free Memory Café Toolkit in Spanish. This webinar is a collaboration between JF&CS, the Lawrence Council on Aging, the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, the Alzheimer's Association, and the Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging. We hope that this video will encourage others around Massachusetts to start Spanish-speaking memory cafés!

For more information, contact Beth Soltzberg at or 781-693-5628. 

Boston Housing Authority Memory Café
Upham's Corner Health Center is launching a new Memory Café in Jamaica Plain. The café will be held at the Boston Housing Authority's property located at 125 Amory Street, beginning on July 27, from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. It will be free and open to the community.

For more information, please contact Brittany McLaren at or 617-440-1615.

Accessible Memory Café - Rose Rodeo at Rest.Stop.Ranch in Topsfield, MA 
With a generous individual contribution, founders of Rest.Stop.Ranch were able to purchase and plant thirty additional rose plants along their wheelchair-accessible memorial garden. Options for visiting the new fragrant plantings include the Memory Café, which meets most Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.; Sunday Stroll, once-a-month, 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.; and private tours by appointment.

If interested, please visit or contact Mary at or 978-887-4202. 

Almost 70 Memory Cafés in Massachusetts!
Visit the statewide directory to find Memory Cafés near you! 
Tools and Resources

Book Release! 
Goddard House Assisted Living celebrates a new book, Seven Steps to Managing Your Memory: What's Normal, What's not, and What to Do About It. In July, Goddard House held a reception and talk with co-author, Andrew Budson, M.D. of Boston University Alzheimer's Disease Center.

For more information, contact Michaela Barrows at, visit or call 617-731-8500, ext. 130. This book is also recommended by Christina DiTerlizzi of the Boston University Alzheimer's Disease Center. For more information contact Christina at or 857-364-2140. 

New Palliative Care Discussion Guides
Honoring Choices Massachusetts introduces new Palliative Care Discussion Guides for Consumers and Care Providers. Individuals, family members, and caregivers can use the free "Palliative Care: 5 Things to Talk About with Your Care Providers" guide to start a discussion with their doctors and care providers to help an adult manage the pain, symptoms, and stress of serious illness. This guide mirrors the questions on the consumer guide and helps care providers start the discussion with their patient/client and family members. Download and print the discussion guides on the Honoring Choices 'Palliative Care" webpage

For more information contact Ellen DiPaola at or 781-642-0454.

SAVE the DATE - Upcoming Dementia Friendly Massachusetts Summit 
Dementia Friendly Massachusetts: Creating Welcoming Communities  
Join us for a state-wide conversation to share models and tools for expanding age- and dementia-friendly communities. The event will take place on Thursday, November 9, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the Royal Plaza Conference Center in Marlborough. Stay tuned for more information this autumn. 

Contact Beth Soltzberg at or Emily Kearns at for more information, or click here for the flyer.
Articles and News from Around the World

Dementia Friends is a social movement started in the UK to change the way people act, think, and talk about dementia through friendly public information sessions. Dementia Friends UK has reached the milestone of 2 million participants. It has become the UK's biggest ever social movement with one in every 30 people in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales involved. Visit to learn more.

JF&CS is in the process of rolling out Dementia Friends Massachusetts this autumn. Contact Contact Beth Soltzberg at for more information. 

The World Health Organization's (WHO ) draft global action plan on the public health response to dementia, created April 3, 2017, provides a new perspective on dementia and a road map for change. It looks at dementia through the lenses of 1) disability rights set forth by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and 2) public health. According to the report, dementia accounts for 11.9% of the years lived with disability due to a noncommunicable disease. In light of the improved life expectancy globally, this figure is expected to increase further. For the full report, click here .

Dementia Action Alliance has produced two white papers aimed at elevating the voice of individuals living with dementia in global dementia support efforts.
Thank You!
  • Tufts Health Plan Foundation for funding the Dementia Friendly Massachusetts Initiative as well as supporting the age-friendly movement throughout the Commonwealth
  • The Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Jewish Family & Children's Service, the Alzheimer's Association MA/NH Chapter, LeadingAge Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging, the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative, and the Multicultural Coalition on Aging
  • The 40+ organizations that form the Dementia Friendly Massachusetts Initiative Advisory Group
  • Everyone who contributed to this newsletter and are working to make Massachusetts more dementia friendly!
The Dementia Friendly Massachusetts Initiative is co-convened by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) and Jewish Family & Children's Service (JF&CS) and managed by representatives from the Alzheimer's Association MA/NH Chapter, LeadingAge Massachusetts, Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging, Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative, and the Multicultural Coalition on Aging. The Advisory Committee includes more than 40 organizations statewide. DFMI is generously supported by Tufts Health Plan Foundation.