Age Friendly Communities was developed by the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (now based at Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging) and community partners.
An informed society is an important step in eliminating the stigma associated with dementia and in assuring the quality of care. An informed society requires that citizens:
- Are knowledgeable about their health and the situations that affect others in the community
- Have access to resources that support awareness at the individual, school, service and broader community levels
- Have an informed and realistic understanding of dementia
The By Us For Us© (BUFU) Guide as a working example within the dementia context
The By Us For Us© (BUFU) Guides are a series of guides created by a group of talented and passionate persons with dementia in partnership with the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP) and the Alzheimer Society.
The guides are developed out of the desire and need for persons with dementia to access information that helps them enhance their well-being and manage daily challenges.
What makes these guides particularly unique and useful is that they are created by persons with dementia for persons with dementia. There are a total of 13 guides broken into three different series.
Person with Dementia series
This series is written by people living with dementia for people living with dementia and focuses on the experiences and challenges of the individual. Guides in this series include:
- Memory Workout
- Managing Triggers
- Enhancing Communication
- Enhancing Wellness
- Tips and Strategies
- Living and Celebrating Life through Leisure
Partner in Care series
This series is written by partners in care for people living with dementia for other partners in care and focuses on the experience of the care partner. Guides in this series include:
- Before/Early Diagnosis
- Role, Health and Well-being
- Support Matters – focus on young carers
This series was written in collaboration with people living with dementia and their care partners and focuses on the shared experiences. The guides in this series include:
- Living and Transforming with Loss and Grief
- Food and Mealtime
- Living Safely
- Safety when Out and About
How the BUFU guides relate to the components within an informed society
Communicate with older adults who are existing or potential participants, customers or clients
Individuals have the right to access information about the risk factors and life-style practices that may help reduce the risk of dementia. They have the right to information about the early symptoms, treatment, care options and services and resources that are available.
The BUFU guides ensure persons with dementia and their formal and informal care partners have access to information about the disease and about ways to improve life with dementia. This information is created by and for people living with dementia, to help individuals living with dementia live better and plan for the future.
- How can everyone involved in the care of people living with dementia (including people living with dementia and partners in care) be made aware of the resources and services available in your organization or community?
- What strategies are used to inform the community on practices and interventions that reduce the risk of dementia as well as the signs and symptoms of dementia?
Share knowledge about older adults with the people you work with
All professionals who work with or for persons with dementia need specialized knowledge and training in dementia care, including respectful care approaches.
The BUFU guides have been utilized in a variety of service and healthcare settings as an education and training tool. The knowledge gained by the guides help create a workplace setting that supports clients with dementia, as well as staff members who age into disabilities, including dementia.
- How do we ensure all staff and volunteers have opportunities for routine professional development to ensure their dementia specific knowledge and skills are current?
Communicate with the greater community
The isolation often experienced by persons with dementia can be reduced by promotion to the broader community (and to policymakers) an awareness and acceptance of the reality of dementia.
- How do we increase awareness of dementia in our organization or community (how is it incorporated into strategic plans, service plans, advocacy activities etc. …)?
Keep learning about older adults
Health care and services providers will be better able to support persons with dementia when they have a realistic understanding of the disease and are sensitive to their needs and preferences. A deeper understanding of dementia from those who are living with dementia will help reduce misunderstandings and the stigma often associated with dementia.
The BUFU guides provide insight into the experience of dementia from those who are directly affected by the disease. This provides an informed and realistic understanding of dementia. This help people see the people behind the disease and eliminates the stigma associated with dementia. It also ensures communities are informed about situations that affect others in their community.
- How are we keeping current on the perspectives of persons with dementia and how these perspectives included in our organization or community?
- How are we working to reduce the stigma associated with dementia?
Proceed to next building block: An enabling and supportive environment.