Age & Dementia Friendly Community Project

The Town of Amherst seeks to understand how our community can best serve older adults and people with dementia. Together, we will explore how we can work together to improve opportunities and outcomes for older adults and people with dementia by becoming an Age and Dementia Friendly Community. 

The Town is working with staff from Pioneer Valley Planning Commission who are assisting with the project. Additionally, the Town is forming a working group to provide oversight of this work. The working group will assist with community engagement strategies and development of a community assessment and action plan. The working group will meet monthly throughout 2022. 


The Age & Dementia Friendly Amherst Working Group is hosting listening sessions in the Summer/Fall of 2022 to gather input from older adults and others who are aging in Amherst (that’s all of us!). Please join us for these important conversations!





We invite you to take the below linked survey to help make Amherst a more Age & Dementia Friendly Community. This survey will help us to collect input from residents on what is needed to create a safe, healthy and inclusive environment for older adults, people living with dementia and the people who care for them.

Your participation will contribute to an understanding of what is working and where there are opportunities for improvement and will help to prioritize actions needed to improve the livability of Amherst for people of all ages. 

Please see the below links to access the online survey offered in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. 

Hard copies of the survey are available for pick-up and drop-off at:

  • Bangs Community Center, South Entrance, Outside Room 101, 70 Boltwood Walk, Amherst 
  • Jones Library, Circulation Desk, 43 Amity Street, Amherst 

The results of this survey will be used to develop a Community Assessment and Action Plan that will serve as a road map for making Amherst an Age & Dementia Friendly Community. 

If you have questions and/or need assistance completing this survey, please contact Senior Services at or (413) 259-3060. 


The public forum topics are based on the domains of an Age and Dementia Friendly Community.  This model, developed by the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative, combines the eight domains of livability model developed by the World Health Organization for assessing communities’ ability to support an aging population and the Ten Domains of a Dementia Friendly Community. The model includes elements of the physical and social environments that are key determinants of whether people can remain healthy, independent and autonomous as they age. 


In planning for an aging population, communities are also facing an increasing number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. It is important for many sectors of the community to be educated about how to recognize the signs of dementia and how to work with people who have dementia. In addition, most people with dementia have caregivers who must be with them at all times. Communities can provide safe and comfortable spaces for people with dementia and their caregivers to meet or seek respite care. Dementia Friendly America is a national network of communities, organizations and individuals seeking to ensure that communities across the US are equipped to support people living with dementia and their caregivers. Dementia Friendly Communities foster the ability of people living with dementia to remain in community and engage and thrive.

Dementia Friendly America lists ten sectors that should be dementia informed in order to create a dementia friendly community:

  1. Transportation, Housing and Public Spaces (local government) – Infrastructure that makes communities more livable for people with dementia and their caregivers
  2. Businesses – Dementia supportive customer service, environments and polices that support employee caregivers
  3. Legal and Advance Planning Services – Legal services that help vulnerable clients express their wishes early and avoid problems such as unpaid expenses
  4. Banks and Financial Services - Dementia friendly practices that help maintain clients’ independence while protecting them from problems
  5. Neighbors and Community Members – Raising awareness to help neighbors and community members understand and support people living with dementia
  6. Independent Living – Home-based services available to maximize independence and promote autonomy and a high quality of life
  7. Communities of Faith – Faith communities use dementia friendly practices to provide a welcoming, compassionate environment and spiritual connection
  8. Care throughout the Continuum – Early diagnosis of dementia and ongoing medical care; patient education; and connecting patients and their caregivers with community resources that promote quality of life
  9. Memory Loss Supports and Services – A spectrum of settings and services needed by people with dementia – from long-term care facilities and assisted and independent living residences, to home care, adult day services, and hospice care
  10. Emergency Planning and First Response – Community planning and family preparation considers safety, security, and needs of people with dementia in disaster planning and emergency response. 

10 Domains of an Age and Dementia Friendly Community with written descriptions above

It is important for communities to plan for people with dementia while preparing for more livable communities, as data indicates that the numbers of people with dementia will continue to rise as the population ages.