Dementia Friendly Business Pilot Program

The target population we ultimately serve is people living with dementia and their families, to strengthen their community engagement & social connections. This program will reach them by improving the ability of local businesses to respectfully engage with and serve older adults living with dementia and their families. The businesses receiving awareness training will be equipped to modify their interactions and environment to create inclusivity for aging adults.

We will recruit businesses frequented by people living with dementia & their families to include restaurants, banks, grocery stores, pharmacies, & public service organizations. 

What is a Dementia Friendly business?

As we strive to create a welcoming, knowledgeable atmosphere in the realm of dementia awareness, we will be contacting businesses and accepting partnerships to strengthen our Dementia Friendly WNC mission and create a unique differentiator to your business model.

We recognize that our area abounds with older adults living with dementia and those family caregivers supporting them, many of which would love to remain active and engaged as participants in their community services, social activities, and beyond.

We would like to tailor our training to the specific business and needs of your customers, as well as learn more about your employee base and company values. What is good for people living with dementia is good for everyone.

 The session can be offered from 30 minutes or longer and participants will learn:

  • Basic Dementia facts, WNC & statewide population figures
  • Principles of Dementia Friendly America & Dementia Friendly WNC
  • How to communicate effectively within day-to-day customer engagement
  • Dementia-friendly business strategies & personalized action plans



Published on Mar 25, 2014 – In this film we see Mary as she encounters people in her community, and see how a little bit of time and consideration for people living with dementia can make all the difference to their daily lives.

Australia is noted for their first Dementia Friendly bank, Dementia Friendly Bank:

“As a family bank, we have a duty of care to support this growing number of Australians who are affected by dementia, including our customers, their carers and the community,” he says.

“Our pilot program earlier in the year revealed how stress and anxiety can be diminished for dementia sufferers, simply by making everyday banking as easy as possible.

“Our training program, developed in conjunction with Alzheimer’s Australia, has been instrumental in helping our bankers walk in the shoes of a person living with dementia, with many commenting how they didn’t realise the simplest things could be so hard.

“Providing an increased level of care is the right thing to do for our customers and we believe fostering a dementia friendly environment will help keep vulnerable customers financially independent for longer and less prone to financial abuse.”

According to research commissioned by the Alzheimer’s Association (, Alzheimer’s disease costs U.S. businesses billions each year, stemming from lost productivity and absenteeism with primary caregivers and the business share of health and long-term care expenses. On the customer front, making it easier for people with dementia to do everyday business out in the community has clear benefits:

  • Retain existing customers. If customers who have dementia and their family caregivers don’t find it easy to use a business, they will likely seek out another.
  • Attract new customers. 60% of North Americans with dementia live at home, often with support from families, friends, and the community. Staying engaged in community life means using the businesses that are easy to navigate and have helpful, aware staff.


In this video from, Dementia Friendly principles allow the Garner family to feel welcomed, supported, and acknowledged by their local businesses: Why Dementia Friendly Business?

Every action counts. The time is now. Be a part of the change in our community that will keep the doors of WNC open to the aging population & those living with dementia



Aging is the greatest risk factor for the development of dementia. Buncombe County is aging more rapidly than other counties, with an 31%  increase in people 65 -74, 106% increase in ages 75 -84, and a 90% increase in ages 85+ expected by 2036.  This equals 4500 people currently in Buncombe, and up to 9000 people by 2050.



Please stay tuned for more information!

Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Contact us!