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2020 Alzheimer's Association Research Grant (AARG)

Implementation and Impact of U.S. Dementia-Friendly Community Initiatives

What is the impact of community-based program usage on the health outcomes for individuals with dementia and their caregivers?

Emily Greenfield, Ph.D.
Rutgers School of Social Work
New Brunswick, NJ - United States


The Dementia-Friendly Community Initiative (DFCI) recruits leaders in local government, community organizations and other local sectors to make communities more supportive of individuals living with dementia as well as their caregivers. Such efforts may include training programs in local businesses or the establishment of “memory cafes” and other places designed to foster social interaction. As DFCIs operate in many areas of the United States, Dr. Emily Greenfield and colleagues will study the effectiveness of DFCIs on health outcomes for individuals with Alzheimer’s and all other dementia as well as their caregivers.

Research Plan

Dr. Greenfield and colleagues will conduct an assessment of DFCIs in Massachusetts, a state with the largest network of DFCIs in the United States. First, they will devise and administer a survey to study how DFCIs are implemented in a range of diverse communities in Massachusetts. Next, using advanced software and statistical techniques, they will study how different community stakeholders are engaged in DFCI activities across the state. 

Furthermore, Dr. Greenfield will analyze data from the United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to determine how adults with dementia and their caregivers are impacted by living in communities with DFCIs. Specifically, the research team will compare how health care costs and the use of health care services may differ in places with DFCIs compared with places that lack them.


The study results may help highlight the impact of Dementia-Friendly Community Organizations on health care outcomes for individuals with dementia and their caregivers. It may also identify a novel quantitative tool for studying the effectiveness of DFCIs and other community-based organizations. If successful, the study results could be used to develop healthcare policies and practice to expand the impact of DFCIs.

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