Dementia Friendly Duluth Encourages Churches to Become Dementia Friendly

Hillside United Methodist Church is fostering friendliness

DULUTH, MN—Dementia Friendly Duluth, a community initiative supported by the Victory Fund that aims to make the community more aware and supportive of people living with dementia, is delighted to highlight Hillside United Methodist Church (HUMC) for their tremendous efforts toward becoming more dementia friendly.

By forming a Dementia Friendly Committee, making changes to their facility and instilling a culture of understanding and compassion for people with dementia, the HUMC has created an environment where these individuals can feel valued, safe and comfortable.

HUMC’s Dementia Friendly Committee has held two Dementia Friends Information Sessions that were attended by Pastor Cynthia, the committee and several parishioners. A Dementia Friends Information Session is a one-hour discussion that enables participants to understand the basics of dementia, communication and conversation tips, and ways to support people living with dementia.

In addition, the HUMC now hosts shortened dementia-friendly church services in which  everyone wears a name tag, the lyrics to traditional hymns are projected in large print on a screen, and a simple overarching message is given.

“While talking to the Dementia Friendly Committee after the service, I felt the passion that HUMC has for caring for their own community — and for the greater Duluth community,” said Rebecca Alsum, an attendee at HUMC’s first dementia-friendly service on Sunday, November 18th. “But, most of all, I understood the simple question they asked themselves: ‘Why wouldn’t we?’”

If you or your faith-based community is interested in attending or hosting a Dementia Friends Information Session — and becoming dementia friendly — please contact Char Johnson, Dementia Friendly Duluth Coordinator at or call at (218) 464-3339.

About Dementia Friendly Duluth

Dementia Friendly Duluth, an initiative of The Victory Fund, aims to make the community more aware, informed, sensitive and supportive of people experiencing and caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.