Just weeks after declaring itself Arizona’s second “Dementia Friendly City,” the City of Surprise is hosting a Memory Café every two weeks in partnership with Banner Sun Health Research Institute and other local partners as part of the Dementia Friends Initiative.

With Arizona anticipated to experience the highest-growth rate of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias nationally, it’s important to create more programs and resources to help entire communities understand what dementia is and how it affects people.

“Our mission is really to end Alzheimer’s and related dementias before we affect another generation,” said Lori Nisson, LCSW, Family and Community Services director at Banner Sun Health Research Institute and Banner Alzheimer’s Institute. “[Participants] get some socialization, get support, get education, find out about resources and really just feel connected to their own community.”

The Memory Café and additional community events aim to raise awareness of the disease, lower stigma and improve support for Northwest Valley families living with dementia. Supporting organizations include: Banner Sun Health Research Institute, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, Benevilla, Sun Health Wellness and the Alzheimer’s Association. For more information on Dementia Friendly Surprise, click here. The City of Tempe, which became the state’s first Dementia Friendly City in 2016, hosts weekly events that can be found by clicking here.