The Connection Newsletter
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 become more dementia friendly.

Below you will find news and resources from around Massachusetts. Please forward this newsletter to your colleagues and lists. We encourage you to share your ideas and learn from each other. If this was forwarded to you by a friend, please join the DFMI mailing list so you can receive future communications from us.

The deadline for submissions for the next issue of the Connection is Friday, December 30. Submit your news today.
"Everywhere I go across the Commonwealth, I make it a priority to talk about the Dementia Friendly Massachusetts Initiative, and I'm so excited about the reception I've received. The interest among communities to be a part of this profoundly important movement is absolutely inspiring!"

- Alice Bonner, Secretary of Massachusetts Elder Affairs
November 2016 Edition
Spotlight on Training and Community Education
Spotlight on Collaboration and Inclusion
Tools and Resources
News from the Dementia Friendly Massachusetts Initiative
Success Stories SuccessStories

Dementia Friendly Initiative in Metrowest Expanding
Building upon success in Hudson, Marlborough, and Northborough, Come 2 B Dementia Friendly in the Metrowest area is beginning Phase 1 using the Dementia Friendly America Community Toolkit. The Communities of Westborough and Sudbury will be joining the initiative.

Contact Christine Alessandro at or 508-573-7200 for more information.

Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Supports Inclusive Memory Cafés
With support from DDS, thirteen providers across Massachusetts have launched memory cafés specifically designed to include the growing population of individuals with an intellectual/developmental disability who have also developed dementia. Memory cafés are social and creative engagement programs that serve individuals living with dementia and their care partners.

Contact Laney Bruner-Canhoto, Assistant Commissioner for Quality Management at DDS, at for more information.

Synagogue-Based Memory Café Launched
Temple Emanuel in Newton and NewBridge on the Charles Memory Care Assisted Living Community in Dedham have partnered to create the only Memory Café in a synagogue environment in Massachusetts. The effort brings NewBridge's memory care expertise into the community while enabling Temple Emanuel to provide programming that is inclusive of all of their members, as well as dementia friendly to the greater community. Upcoming Memory Café programs are planned monthly.

For more information, contact Tracy Schneider of Temple Emanuel at 617-959-4928 or Dana Gitell of NewBridge on the Charles Memory Care Assisted Living at 781-234-9352.

First Spanish-Speaking Memory Café in Massachusetts Launched
The Lawrence Council on Aging recently launched Aroma de Café, the first Spanish-speaking memory café in Massachusetts. The café meets at the Lawrence Senior Center.

For more information, contact Angie Garcia or Martha Medina at 978-620-3540.

Latino Faith Leaders Partner with the Alzheimer's Association
The "Church Ambassador Program" of the Alzheimer's Association is working with Spanish speaking volunteers to raise awareness and provide education in the Latino community regarding Alzheimer's and related disorders. Volunteers receive training and work within their own faith communities, providing events and education programs. We currently have seven volunteers throughout Boston and Lawrence and we are looking for more volunteers who can help us spread the word in other Spanish speaking churches across the state.

Contact Leonor Buitrago, Alzheimer's Association, at for more information.

Chorus Brings Generations Together in the Cape
The Alzheimer's Family Support Center has created the Re-memorable Multigenerational Chorus of Cape Cod, bringing together people with AD/dementia, caregivers, and schoolchildren to sing twice a month. Community partners include the Eastham Council on Aging, the Gathering Place Adult Day Program, and Eastham Elementary School. Fourth and fifth grade students are dementia-trained and the chorus is conducted by a music therapist as children learn songs of the past and teach older adults contemporary songs. The program has received funding support from local cultural councils and is beginning its third year this autumn.

For more information, email or call 508-896-5170.
Spotlight on Training and Community Education TrainingCommunityEd

Silver Alert Mandates Alzheimer's Association Training of All Massachusetts Police Officers
In 2010, the Massachusetts legislature under the Secretary of Public Safety passed the Silver Alert legislation to aid those living with dementia who become lost. In 2016 this legislation added police training to support Silver Alert's effectiveness. Early this fall, the Alzheimer's Association trained 100 police instructors who will then conduct a mandatory training by June 2017 for all 10,000 police officers throughout the state. The training, which covers information about Alzheimer's disease, communication challenges, search protocols, helping families, and more, aims to educate and support officers in the event of a missing person with dementia and to minimize the odds of repeat wandering.

Adam Frank, Executive Office of Elder Affairs,
Chief Michael Lyle, Melrose Police Department,
Ronda Randazzo, Alzheimer's Association,

Trainings Reach Many in the Cape
Hope Dementia & Alzheimer's Services just completed its fifth Dementia Friendly Training sponsored by Cape Cod Healthcare Community Benefits and the Cape Cod Foundation. More than 200 community employees participated in this four-hour training, presented in five strategic geographic locations. Most participants were staff from police and fire departments, EMS, and local Councils on Aging. The training, entitled "Alzheimer's Disease: Everything You Need to Know," was developed and presented by Suzanne Faith, RN Psych.

For more information, contact Suzanne Faith at or 508-775-5656.

Greylock Federal Credit Union Trains all Staff
Home Instead Senior Care of the Berkshires announced in July that Greylock Federal Credit Union became the first business in the Berkshires to complete the Home Instead Alzheimer's Friendly Business training for 100% of their employees. Greylock, which has more than 275 employees at 13 different locations, has also integrated the training into the hiring process.

Contact Home Instead Senior Care at 413-442-0907 or visit their website for more information.

ESWA Provides a Series of Dementia Friendly Community Education Events
Elder Services of Worcester Area offered a new workshop series this autumn, including a focus on behavior as communication, the power of music, and new technology.

For more information, contact Debbie Dowd-Foley at or 508-756-1545. 

Metro East Alzheimer Partnership Focuses on LGBT Community Needs 
In early November, the Metro East Alzheimer's Partnership hosted an event in Cambridge including a panel discussion of a geriatrician, an elder law attorney, financial planner, and representative from the LGBT Aging Project. This event recognizes the specific concerns and needs of LGBT individuals and families living with dementia.

For more information, contact Roberta Robinson, Cambridge Health Alliance, at or 617-835-1422.
Spotlight on Collaboration and Inclusion CollaborationAndInclusion

Multicultural Coalition on Aging Can Help
The Multicultural Coalition on Aging has a diverse membership willing to help with communication strategies across cultural and linguistic divides. This may help in putting together or strengthening your dementia friendly community. A list of network members can be found on their website.

Contact Gene A. Mazzella, Chair, at for more information.

Age-Friendly and Dementia Friendly Come Together in Newton
The City of Newton has been designated an Age-Friendly Community by the World Health Organization and AARP's Age-Friendly Communities Network. The Newton Department of Senior Services is providing the leadership for the City's PLAAN (Planning for a Livable All Age-Friendly Newton) initiative. There has been a commitment to integrate the Dementia Friendly America model into the PLAAN process. A deliberate outreach effort will seek individuals who have an expertise/passion/life experience around dementia into each domain under the WHO/AARP model.

For more information, contact Jayne Colino, Newton Department of Senior Services, at or 617-796-1671.
Tools and Resources ToolsAndResources

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Funds Researchers to Create Searchable Database of Dementia Friendly and Age-Friendly Activities and Resources
With support from Tufts, researchers at the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston are conducting an environmental scan of dementia friendly and age-friendly resources across the state. The aim is compile a list of resources and develop a free, public, searchable database. Sign up to participate.

Contact Beth Dugan, PhD at for more information.

Dementia Friendly Community Toolkit and Sector Guides Available
The Dementia Friendly Massachusetts Initiative is a member of the national Dementia Friendly America network. Dementia Friendly America is a national hub of knowledge, and free educational and organizing tools. We encourage you to visit these pages at the website:
  • If you are a community just getting started, check out Phase 1.
  • For communities ready to explore a four-step process to become more dementia friendly, see the Dementia Friendly America Toolkit.
  • For any sector seeking educational materials and resources to become more dementia friendly, see the DFA Sector Guides.
Wisconsin Community Toolkit
Download another great resource from the Badger State: "A Toolkit for Building Dementia Friendly Communities." It was created by the Wisconsin Healthy Brain Initiative, a collaboration between the Wisconsin Department of Health, the Alzheimer's Association of Southeastern Wisconsin, and AARP Wisconsin. 

Age-Friendly Toolkit Available from the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative
This toolkit includes tools and resources to help communities in Massachusetts learn more about what it means to be age-friendly, how to join an age-friendly network, and how to move forward with assessment, implementation, and evaluation. Many local examples are included. Age-friendly and dementia friendly efforts can collaborate in many ways. 

Contact Alrie McNiff Daniels, Tufts Health Plan Foundation, at for more information.

Memory Café Toolkit Available
The Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging and Jewish Family & Children's Service have created a free Memory Café Toolkit to make it easier to start and sustain these social and creative engagement programs for people living with dementia as well as their family, and friends. It includes a step-by-step guide and templates that can be edited and adapted. A Spanish version of the Toolkit should be available by late 2016. Visit to download the Toolkit.

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

E-Book for Families Caring for a Loved One Who Is Living with Dementia
Hebrew SeniorLife elder care experts are offering a free eBook to answer questions and provide help for families caring for a loved one with dementia. Download "Understanding & Living with Dementia: A Resource for Families" for information about Alzheimer's disease and a list of Hebrew SeniorLife Resources.

For more information, contact Dana Gitell, Hebrew SeniorLife, at or 781-234-9352.

The Conversation Project Kit for Families Addressing End-of-Life Concerns in the Context of Dementia
The Conversation Project has launched a new, free starter kit to address the issues associated with Alzheimer's disease and other conditions causing dementia. The first of its kind, it provides questions that can help caregivers navigate the approach to the conversation based on the cognitive level of the impaired individual and can also guide decision making even if the illness is so advanced that the loved one has lost the ability to communicate. Download the kit today.

Contact Rosemary Lloyd, The Conversation Project, at for more information.
News from the Dementia Friendly MA Initiative News

Learning Communities Help To Spread Ideas
The Dementia Friendly Massachusetts Initiative is coordinating Learning Communities that meet periodically by conference call to help those doing related work to share ideas, resources, and best practices. Learning Communities already in place include two Eastern Massachusetts groups, a Central Mass group, a Cape and the Islands group, and a Faith Leaders group. Already we've learned a great deal from one another!

Contact Emily Kearns, JF&CS, for more information or to join a Learning Community.

Where We are Today
View a map of communities with active and emerging dementia friendly initiatives and view a map of communities with a memory café compiled by the UMass Boston Gerontology Institute. New initiatives are starting all the time. Please contact Emily Kearns, JF&CS, at or 978-604-0830 to let us know about what is happening in your community!

Visit for a directory of Memory Cafés in Massachusetts.

Thank You!
  • Tufts Health Plan Foundation for funding the Dementia Friendly Massachusetts Initiative as well as supporting the age-friendly movement throughout the Commonwealth
  • 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, 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 and Children's Service (JF&CS) and managed by representatives from the Alzheimer's Association MA/NH Chapter, LeadingAge Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging, and the Multicultural Coalition on Aging. The Advisory Committee includes more than 40 organizations statewide. DFMI is generously supported by Tufts Health Plan Foundation.