Presenting a global evidence base

The World Dementia Council is leading an international network of organisations to investigate and report on the global evidence base for the delivery of Dementia Friendly Initiatives (DFIs). The evidence gathering project began in mid-2019 and will culminate in a report soon to be published in 2020.

It has long been recognised by policy makers that inclusion of people in society, as society’s age, requires active policy solutions. The Madrid Action Plan of Action on Ageing (2002) recognises government’s must “seek the full inclusion and participation of older persons in societies; to enable older persons to contribute more effectively to their communities and to the development of their societies; and to steadily improve care and support for older persons as they need it”.  The G8 London Dementia Summit (2013) communique committed governments to “disseminate successful approaches to supporting people with dementia and their carers including… community-based programmes fostering inclusion and improved quality of life”. The G20 heads of state summit in June 2019 as part of the Japanese G20 presidency committed “We will implement comprehensive set of policies to address dementia, including promoting risk reduction and sustainable provision of long-term care as well as inclusive societies aiming to improve quality of lives of people with dementia and caregivers.” The World Health Organization has, as part of the Global Action Plan, set an ambition that half of countries has at least one dementia friendly initiative by 2025 and is publishing a toolkit to support this work later in the year.

Under this policy umbrella, and in the face of the demographic and health challenge, over the last decade there has been a growth in “dementia friendly initiatives” and also “age friendly initiatives” often with some overlap between the two. There is considerable diversity associated with these initiatives: in how they are established and run; in geographical reach; and in the impact they intend to have. 

There is an increasing recognition that there is a need to establish what evidence of impact their is for these initiatives. Governments, providers and civil society are all beginning to address this challenge around the world. This evidence gather project will identify the key evidence that exists and evidence gaps.

The WDC is proud to be partnering with Alzheimer’s Society (UK), AARP (US), HGPI (Japan), all from nations at the forefront of pioneering dementia friendly initiatives since 2013, and each uniquely placed to bring together policy and evidence from around the world. We are also pleased to be collaborating with ADI, as well as working with the WHO which is developing a toolkit to provide key support to member nations looking to develop dementia friendly communities.


Evidence gathering

Evidence gathering has now closed. We were delighted to hear from so many, and thanks to all who completed our survey. It was not only a chance to help this project, but to champion work and help us promote activities for people affected by dementia.

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Every day, individuals and organisations right across the globe are involved in dementia friendly initiatives. They are at the forefront of the design, provision, delivery and assessment of widely-varying initiatives to help people living with dementia lead better quality lives in the community. Through our international network we are pleased to have brought together these individuals and organisations to assess the impact of their work.

All returned surveys and academic papers have contributed to the report’s findings, and even if not directly referenced, they have been extremely helpful in our analysis and report writing.


Satellite event at AAIC19 — Los Angeles, US

As part of our ongoing review project, the WDC co-hosted a satellite roundtable event in Los Angeles, US, on 16 July 2019 with AARP to discuss the evidence base for delivering dementia friendly initiatives. This was the first satellite roundtable the project held and took place alongside AAIC19.


The event brought together stakeholders from across the world to discuss how dementia friendly programs are simultaneously seeking to change society whilst providing support for people with dementia. You can read more about the event in our news article here.


Satellite event at AAICSS — Sydney, Australia

Following the meeting in Los Angeles, the WDC also co-hosted another satellite roundtable event in Sydney, Australia, on 26 September 2019 with the Government of Australia. This was the second satellite roundtable the project held and took place alongside AAICSS, further discussing the design and delivery of dementia friendly initiatives around the world.


You can read more about the event in our news article here.