Dementia-friendly community project at Orcas Senior Center

Orcas Senior Center has undertaken a project organized through Dementia Friendly America ( called Dementia Friendly Communities. OSC is joining a national network of communities, organizations and individuals seeking to ensure that communities across the U.S. are equipped to support people living with dementia and their caregivers.

“Dementia Friendly Orcas,” a workgroup of 10 volunteers, hopes to engage all sectors of our community in understanding the scope and impact of memory loss and dementia on Orcas. The group will assess our community’s current ability to support people with cognitive difficulties and memory loss. As we identify needs for improvement, we will plan to provide the education, community support and resources that people living with dementia, their families, and caregivers need. A Dementia Friendly Community is a village, town, city or county that is informed, safe and respectful of individuals living with dementia, their families, and caregivers.

This start-up process is expected to take at least a year. We will be reaching out to community organizations to engage our neighbors in finding solutions. Little things like recognizing when someone is having difficulty counting change in a check-out line or needs help finding their parked car can be very helpful. They can keep a situation from escalating into an unsafe one. Opening a “Memory Café” where caregivers and people with cognitive difficulties can be social is one resource we might create.

If you would like to know more, see or call Orcas Senior Center at (360) 376-2677. You may also email