Calls for re-funding of dementia-friendly communities program

Dementia Australia’s award-winning Dementia-Friendly Communities program was highlighted today with the release of a discussion paper, Support. Encourage. Empower. Leading the way toward a Dementia-Friendly Community.

The program won in the community engagement category in the 2021 Future of Ageing awards – Read more about the winning entry

Speaking during a Parliamentary Friends of Dementia webinar, Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe AM said people living with dementia report their involvement in the program has made them feel part of the community – they feel valued, included and have a sense of purpose.

“Life-changing is the way participants have described it,” Ms McCabe said.


“Dementia Australia is calling on the Australian Government and the opposition political parties to commit to recurring funding as an election commitment for the Dementia-Friendly Communities program, past the current June 2022 completion date.

Established in 2016, the program has grown to support alliances, organisations and initiatives in every state and territory in varying stages of development.

“The program is designed to empower and support individuals and communities to undertake initiatives to increase awareness about dementia and promote social engagement,” Ms McCabe said.

“The one, overarching essential element for these initiatives is for people living with dementia and carers to be meaningful participants in whatever way is possible, from inception to implementation.”

There are currently:

  • Almost 33,000 Dementia Friends
  • 56 alliances
  • 64 Dementia-Friendly Organisations
  • Almost 120 Dementia Friends hosts and 40 on the waiting list
  • Almost 25 Community Engagement Program projects.

“The program’s demonstrated success in the nationwide range, scale and diversity of dementia-friendly initiatives make a compelling argument for continuing this funding to support the growth, development and sustainability of current and future Dementia-Friendly Communities initiatives,” Ms McCabe said.

Juanita Hughes who is living with dementia said she felt very strongly about the power of dementia-friendly communities.

“If people living with dementia are given the necessary support, we still have a lot to contribute,” Ms Hughes said. 

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