China - Dementia Friendly Communities

The first dementia caregiver support group was established in 2000. Founded by Dr Huali Wang, a geriatric psychiatrist, the group aims to encourage caregivers to share their experience, and concerns with others, educate caregivers with information about diagnosis and management, and facilitate building a social support network for caregivers where their emotional distress could be relieved. The group meets regularly, some monthly and some quarterly. During the group meeting, professionals give mini-lectures on the essentials of dementia, early signs of cognitive impairment and caregiving skills. Volunteers then organise cognitive training and recreational activities for the caregivers. Caregiver support groups have now been set up in more than 10 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Changsha, Taiyuan, Hangzhou, Wenzhou, Xi’an and Tianjin.

The campaign Memory Health in the Community was initiated in 2010, aiming to improve the knowledge, recognition and prevention of dementia in the community. Memory specialists, social workers and community staff gave lectures to raise awareness and support dementia screening in more than 50 cities. Dementia screening is now accessible in more than 500 communities in China.

In 2012, the Yellow Bracelet Project was initiated to encourage safety and prevent people with dementia getting lost. Yellow Bracelet has now become a symbol of affection, and continues to attract attention across society. By the end of 2016, the project had distributed 500,000 free yellow bracelets in 233 cities. The Safe Bracelet Project followed in 2016 in Wenzhou. With the support of a GPS-guided bracelet, 84 people with dementia have been found after they wandered to distant areas.