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Understanding and Creating Dementia-Friendly Communities
Friday, December 09, 2022, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM PDT
Category: Educational Events

Understanding and Creating Dementia-Friendly Communities

Dementia-Friendly Communities LogoAccording to the World Health Organization, 55.2 million people around the world were affected by dementia in 2019, and this figure is projected to rise to 78 million by 2030 and to 139 million by 2050. In the United States alone, 6.5 million people 65 years of age or older currently live with Alzheimer’s disease. More than 50% of all Americans affected by dementia live in their communities. 

In 2015, the White House Conference on Aging announced the launch of the Dementia Friendly America initiative - a national network of communities, cities, and states that have pledged to become more dementia friendly.

This webinar will introduce you to the Dementia Friendly America network, present the results from an interview study with people living with dementia and their informal care partners exploring how they envision a dementia-friendly community, and showcase several dementia-friendly community initiatives that have been established in different parts of Oregon.


Photo of Britta WillsonBritta Willson, MA

Britta is a gerontologist and sex educator who has worked with systems and services that support aging adults for over 20 years. She received her BA in Human Studies from Marylhurst University and her MA in Gerontology from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC. She enjoys supporting people navigating aging in its physical, emotional, and social dimensions and has extensive knowledge of aging- and disability-related resources and services. She is skilled at program coordination, evidence-based health promotion, and facilitating trainings and workshops for healthcare professionals, older adults, and family caregivers. Britta lives in The Dalles, Oregon with her partner, two dogs, cat, and snake. Through her work with the Golden Institute at the University of Washington, she provides and coordinates trainings on the unique needs of sexual and gender diverse minorities to staff in long-term care communities. Her mission is to live compassionately and contemplatively through a life of service to older generations. 

Photo of Iris WernherIris Wernher, PhD, Dipl.-Psych.

Iris holds a graduate degree in psychology and a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology and recently completed the PhD in Urban Studies program at Portland State University (PSU) with a focus in gerontology. As a student assistant at PSU's Institute on Aging, she has taught graduate-level courses in gerontology, helped coordinate the Senior Adult Learning Center that allows older adults to audit university courses at no cost, and been involved in the planning and implementation of the Age-Friendly Portland and Multnomah County initiatives. Iris is a Board member of the Oregon Gerontological Association, and she has volunteered extensively with the local aging-in-place Village movement. Before moving to Portland in 2012, Iris worked as a neuropsychologist at a memory clinic in Germany and has since remained true to her passion for improving the lives of those living with dementia and their carers. Her dissertation is titled "Defining Dementia-Friendly Communities From the Perspective of Those Affected."

Photo of Kera MagarillKera Magarill, MA, Older Adult Behavioral Health Specialist

Kera holds degrees in human service and non-profit management and has received specialized training in music therapy and dementia care. After completing a program in gerontology with Metropolitan State University in Denver, she began serving on faculty as an instructor in Aging Leadership and Health Professions. Kera has worked across the long term care continuum in adult day, in-home care, memory care, and nursing home care. She started volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado and eventually served on staff as an Early Stage Program Coordinator during which time she launched a statewide creative engagement program with museums, arts, and other cultural partners. She has also contributed as a writer to Activity Connection’s dementia programming publication for activity and programming professionals. She is honored to be serving her community in her current role as an Older Adult Behavioral Health Specialist with Washington County Disability, Aging and Veteran Services.

Photo of Beth Mastel-SmithBeth Mastel-Smith, PhD, RN, MS, FNGNA

Beth is a nurse who has worked on behalf of older adults for over 30 years. She received a BSN from Eastern Washington University, a Masters in Health Education from Whitworth College, and a PhD in Nursing from Texas Woman’s University in Houston. Beth has extensive experience in developing and delivering aging-related educational programs for various audiences in the US and internationally. She has worked in a dementia day program, as a geriatric care manager, and volunteered for Alzheimer’s Association Greater Houston and Rock Steady Boxing, a non-contact boxing program for people with Parkinson’s. Currently, Beth teaches in the online Nursing Doctoral program at the University of Texas at Tyler where she does research related to education, stigma and dementia. Beth’s goal is to create opportunities that improve the health and quality of life for people with dementia and their care partners. Beth lives in Baker City with her husband and smooth fox terrier, Bates.

Intended Audience: 

This webinar is appropriate for a general audience including professionals and students in the field of aging and community members interested in learning more about dementia-friendly communities.

Registration Fee:

  • OGA members, people living with dementia, and informal carers: Free!
  • Non-members: $10
  • Registrants with limited financial means: $5

Why do we ask for a fee?

OGA is a non-profit organization run by volunteers. Events and donations are our main sources of income to fund our educational and networking programs.

Reduced or complimentary event registration is one of the great benefits for OGA members! If you like our educational program - we strive to offer at least one event per month - becoming a member will pay off quickly! To learn more about OGA membership, please visit our Membership page.

However, we understand that many of us are struggling to make ends meet these days. No one will be turned away! If you cannot afford $5 at this moment, please contact us at [email protected] - thanks to the generous donations of OGA members and friends throughout the year, we can cover a small number of registrations for each event.

Please note that we offer CEUs only for our annual conference in October, not for our regular events. However, we are happy to issue a Certificate of Attendance upon request for those who attend this webinar for its entire length. To request one, please send us an email after the event.


Please complete the ONLINE REGISTRATION FORM to receive the Zoom link. Should you encounter any difficulties registering online, please don't hesitate to reach out! Please note that payment via check is currently not possible through the online form! If you cannot or do not wish to pay electronically, please do not complete the form. Instead, contact us at [email protected], and we will guide you through the offline payment process.

Contact: [email protected]