A dementia-friendly community is a village, town, city or county that is informed, safe and respectful of individuals with the disease, their families and caregivers, and provides supportive options that help improve quality of life.
Local governments in dementia-friendly communities plan and implement housing, transportation, public spaces and emergency response strategies that enable people with dementia and their care partners to live productive lives.
The goal, officials say, is to ensure people with dementia can live independently for as long as possible and be engaged in the community and its activities.
Adopting such approaches is critical, officials say, because more than five million Americans are living with dementia linked to Alzheimer’s disease, a number that is expected to grow as the population ages.
An estimated 230,000 individuals afflicted with the condition live in Illinois, a number that is projected to increase to 260,000 people by 2025.
Local officials estimate that nearly 800 Oak Park residents 65 and older may now be living with dementia.