Dementia Friends – Changing the way we think, talk and act about dementia

In 2018, there were around 140,000 people living with dementia in Georgia. All too often people with dementia experience loneliness and social exclusion. By coming together as Georgians, we can make sure that people living with dementia are understood, included and feel a part of their communities.

What is the Dementia Friends program?

Dementia Friends is a social action movement developed by the Alzheimer’s Society in the United Kingdom. Georgia is one of several states offering the Dementia Friends Program. This program is offered through the GA Department of Human Services, Division of Aging Services. It aims to give people an understanding of dementia and the small things we can all do to make a difference for people living with dementia in our communities.

You can make a difference

Become a Dementia Friend! It’s easy. By hosting an Information Session, you can learn a bit about what life can be like for people living with dementia and what you can do to help them feel part of the community. As a trained Dementia Friends Champion, Whitney Oeltmann will deliver a free one-hour Information Session to you and your staff. Please contact her at (888) 695-1596 or at to arrange the session.

What Makes You a Dementia Friend?

You become a Dementia Friend by attending a one-hour informational session to learn about this worldwide movement, about living with dementia, and the simple things you can do to support someone living with the disease.

What Happens at the Information Session?

The one-hour session is a discussion led by a Dementia Friends Champion. It is not a training session. You’ll learn what dementia is, what it’s like to live with the disease, and some tips for communicating with people who have dementia. Everyone who attends is asked to turn their new understanding of dementia into a practical action that can help someone living in your community. The action can be as big or as small as you choose—every action counts!


You don’t need to be a dementia expert to become a Dementia Friend.

You don’t need to know someone with dementia to become a Dementia Friend.

After you attend the session, you decide about becoming a Dementia Friend.

Dementia Friends…

is a global movement that is changing the way people think,  act, and talk about dementia. Developed by the Alzheimer’s Society in the United Kingdom, the Dementia Friends initiative is underway in Georgia and across the United States. By helping everyone in a community understand what dementia is and how it affects families, each of us can make a difference for people touched by dementia.

There are efforts around the world to create communities that are welcoming, safe, and comfortable for people experiencing symptoms of dementia. Georgia has many projects and initiatives happening across the state to join in these efforts.

In January 2018, a strategy group formed to begin sharing ideas and bringing efforts together for a dementia-friendly Georgia. The Department of Human Services holds the sub-license for Dementia Friends, which is a global movement developed by the Alzheimer’s Society in the United Kingdom and now underway in the United States.

Dementia Spotlight Foundation has been an active part of this strategy group since inception and assisted in writing and applying for Georgia’s Dementia Friends sub-license which was excitingly approved this past January. DSF has recently been asked to chair the work group and our President/Co-Founder is one of the first Dementia Friends Champions in Georgia.

The goal of this program is to help everyone in a community understand five key messages about dementia, how it affects people, and how each of us can make a difference for people living with dementia.

A Dementia Friend participates in a one-hour information session run by a Dementia Friends Champion.

Community Mini-Grants

Supported by funds from the Department of Human Services, the Georgia Gerontology Society (GGS) awarded five communities mini-grants to begin dementia friendly efforts. Dementia Spotlight Foundation is proud to be partnering with DeKalb County Government in Atlanta and to have been a recipient of one of these community grants. Focus groups were just completed across the county and Dementia Friends Informational sessions are being held this Summer and early Fall across DeKalb county. All communities receiving a mini-grant follow and we look forward to all working together!

  • Alzheimer’s Outreach Center, Albany
  • DeKalb County Government, Atlanta
  • Hospice of Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Gainesville
  • Northwest Georgia Regional Commission AAA, Rome
  • Orchard Senior Living, Brookhaven

For more information on Dementia Friends, visit or to schedule a Dementia Friends Informational Session near you, contact Whitney Oeltmann at

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