There are more and more inquiries from around the country asking how to get started. During the first meetings where we began building what would become Purple Cities Alliance, we had such complicated, huge plans but we quickly realized that simplicity was our best advantage. The idea was to spread awareness, to give as many people as possible a small amount of knowledge about dementia, knowing that once we open the doors people would seek further information. Our first and most important goal was to help the general public understand what it is like for our neighbors who are living with dementia and are still living and working in the community. We saw first hand how many of our friends and advocates who stood with us a few years ago were now living with dementia themselves. We know how many of our friends and families are living with a loved one who is dealing with dementia. What we want is for everyone to understand, welcome and support these people. To understand the determination to live every day to the fullest in spite of a disease that is unrelenting.
If a neighbor has cancer or heart disease we all rally around them, encourage them, offer to help. If a neighbor has a disease that brings dementia we back away, we watch them to see how "bad" it is now, we abandon them and their families and we tell ourselves that they wouldn't want us to see them "that way". The truth is WE don't want to see them that way, we are afraid and we don't know what to do or say. In a Purple City people understand and support their neighbors, we learn how to respond when someone is in a frightening situation due to dementia. We know how to approach, what to say, where to look for help. We are proud to know that there are so many other communities who are ready to make the change and become dementia friendly. We also hope that the simplicity of Purple Cities Alliance, the grass roots, volunteer based initiative which has no money or fundraising attached to it but is simply dedicated to creating a better world for people with dementia, will help those communities to achieve it .
Everything we have done is available to anyone who wants to duplicate it. Our education page and powerpoint can be used by anyone who wants them. The logo we designed is easily adapted to show another city and state. We cannot sponsor any other group since we have no funds but we can support them. We will help in anyway we can. This is a surprisingly easy method to acheive a dementia friendly community. It starts with one or two or ten people who have a passion to make it happen and then it grows! We can do this everywhere! Let's start talking!