New Town – A Dementia Caring Community

Everyone in a community has the power to make a positive impact on the lives of others. When it comes to dementia, communities can play an important role in helping people with memory loss feel safe, respected, and understood. This basic principal is the foundation of the “Dementia Friendly America” movement.

Over a decade ago, the World Health Organization began a campaign to create environments where older people would feel less isolated from community life. This concept soon evolved to focus on the needs of people with memory loss due to Alzheimer’s disease and AD-related dementia.

In 2015, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs announced the Dementia Care and Cure Initiative (DCCI) to engage communities across the state to become more “dementia caring.” The Jacksonville DCCI Task Force was created in 2018 and officially joined the national Dementia Friendly America network in 2019. Task Force members include representatives from Mayo Clinic, the Alzheimer's Association, ElderSource, City of Jacksonville Senior Services, AARP, Florida Department of Elder Affairs, and other community partners working together to create a dementia-friendly Jacksonville to increase the quality of life for those affect by dementia.


Watch this video explaining how communities can become more dementia friendly.

New Town falls within the city of Jacksonville's "Health Zone 1," a group of zip codes in the urban core that experience the greatest degree of health disparities in the city. Given the known disparities related to dementia in African Americans, the Mayo ADRC has partnered with the Edward Waters College Disparities Center and community volunteers to help the New Town/College Gardens neighborhood become a dementia caring community.

With grant funding* from the National Institutes of Health and the State of Florida, individuals from all sectors of community life were invited to share their thoughts on how New Town/College Gardens could better meet the needs of people with dementia. These thoughts were summarized, themes were identified, and findings were reported back to the community. Volunteers then looked into the many ideas that were generated and the community prioritized the ones felt to be most important.

Through this process, a variety of projects and programs have been developed and implemented in partnership with the community volunteers who guide and sustain them. These include:

  • Bimonthly dementia education newsletter
  • Bimonthly Caregiver Support group
  • Workshops on managing caregiver stress, advance care planning, brain healthy meal planning, etc.
  • Dementia Friendly Youth & Dementia Friendly Business programs.
  • Community lectures on a wide variety of topics related to Alzheimer’s disease
  • Monthly Memory Cafés* offering a safe, relaxed environment for people with dementia and their loved ones to enjoy activities together and socialize.

If you would like to attend one of the upcoming New Town Dementia Caring Community activities, please visit our Event Calendar.


The New Town Dementia Caring Community project is staffed by a dedicated group of community volunteers in partnership with Mayo Clinic ADRC outreach staff.

Michelle Fudge (L) and Jolita Wainwright (R) lead the New Town DCC project.

Shirley Brown
Newsletter editor

Brenda Ford
Training Committee leader

Robert Gordon
Socialization committee leader

Tina Logan
Caregiver Support Group leader

Jolita Wainwright
Education Coordinator

Socialization Committee

Training Committee

Caregiver Support Committee


  • Dementia Friendly America is a national network of providing tools for communities to support people living with dementia and their caregivers.
  • Dementia Friends USA offers online videos and in-person training sessions to help people understand what it’s like to live with dementia.


* The New Town Dementia Caring Community project had been supported by grant funding from the Mayo Clinic Community Health Assessment and Improvement Measurement Program through a grant from the National Institutes of Health Center for Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program (UL1TR002377), and from the State of Florida Ed & Ethel Moore Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program grant (8AZ08). The New Town Memory Café was developed under the State of Florida Ed & Ethel Moore Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program grant (8AZ08) and sustained in partnership with Dementia Care and Cure Initiative – Jacksonville and ElderSource through a grant from the Grace H. Osbourn Endowment at The Community Foundation of Northeast