Costa Rica - Dementia Friendly Communities

Costa Rica’s national Alzheimer Plan, the first for a low or middle-income country, was launched in 2014. Guided by the plan, Asociación Costarricense de Alzheimer y otras Demencias Asociadas (ASCADA) chose to prioritise the informing and education of the general public, advising them on how to become more dementia friendly. The greatest success of these efforts to date has happened in the city of Curridabat where ASCADA began working in partnership with the city council in 2015. Key activities carried out in the city include the organising of awareness events, such as Run for your memories marathons and providing training to of all of the city’s general practitioners on detecting dementia symptoms early. This training also raises their awareness of the needs of carers of people with dementia and how these needs can be met. The building of a Carer’s Centre in the city is also helping to bring together and address the needs of carers. The success of dementia friendly efforts in the city has also encouraged the introduction of more therapeutic interventions, medical treatments and accommodation specifically for people living with dementia. It has also been recognised that the rates of dementia diagnosis have increased due to more people being screened in the community.