Revitalizing Dementia Friends in Pierce County

February 28, 2024

Community Stories, Resources, News, Dementia Friends, Dementia-Friendly Community

Chances are that you may know someone living with dementia, or may know someone who is caring for someone living with the disease. Perhaps you’ve even heard in the news recently about celebrities bravely sharing their diagnoses.  

The Washington State Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias shares that in 2020, around 125,000 people were living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias in Washington state. By 2040, this number is expected to grow to more than 270,000. As noted by Lutheran Community Services Northwest, there are 12,497 individuals living with dementia in Pierce County alone, with an expected increase to 19,575 individuals in the next 10 years.  

These numbers demonstrate that there is more of a need than ever to understand dementia and find ways to act. While research efforts are underway to find a cure, one has not been discovered, yet.

You may wonder: how can I be a support to someone living with dementia? How can I learn more?

Dementia Friends is a program that began in the UK and can now be found in over 30 states in the United States, with over 160,000 individuals being involved as Dementia Friends across the country. In Washington state, the program is spearheaded by the UW Memory and Brain Wellness Center, in partnership with organizations that take the lead in their county. Currently, 24 counties offer the Dementia Friends program.

A 60-minute Dementia Friends information session includes a discussion about what dementia is, the main type of dementia, how to communicate with someone living with dementia, and ways to take action. A list of local resources and supports are also shared. These sessions are available to anyone at no cost.

Update: Dementia Friends in Pierce County

Wendy Morris, the Regional Coordinator for Dementia Friends in Pierce County, is based out of Celebrate Seniority: MultiCare. She trains new volunteers (known as Dementia Friends Champions) to deliver information sessions out in the community and also delivers information sessions to various sectors within the general public in the county as well.

“Helping people understand what is and isn’t dementia and how to help those living with it has become a passion for me. Knowing I can do a small part to make their lives filled with a little more grace from others, through Dementia Friends, fills my heart,” Wendy shares.

Over the past few years since the program’s inception in Washington, Pierce County has brought on 807 new Dementia Friends and Dementia Friends Champions. Recently, Wendy offered Dementia Friends Champion training to UW Tacoma Nursing students who are working on a project to raise awareness and fundraising for an art program (Opening Minds through Art, a program at Lutheran Community Services Northwest). She trained 18 new Dementia Friends Champions in this effort.

Wendy invites anyone living in Pierce County to get involved with Dementia Friends: businesses, clubs, faith communities, and more. You can attend an information session or receive training to be a volunteer Dementia Friends Champion to help deliver these information sessions to areas within your community. If you’ve attended a Champion training previously and need to brush up on the information, you are invited to attend a re-fresher training as well.

Upcoming Trainings 

Celebrate Seniority: MultiCare Dementia Friends sessions

Monday, April 15, 11am to 12:15pm. Location: Celebrate Seniority Office-Puyallup,  1004 E Main Ave, Puyallup, WA 98372. To Register: Call (253)697-7385, or email

Please reach out to Wendy ( to learn about more upcoming information sessions and trainings being held in Pierce County, or to schedule an information session for your organization or club. Let’s work together to turn understanding into action and make sure everyone living with dementia remains included in our communities.

Wendy also invites you to check out the Care Pairs program and the Senior Friends program offered at Celebrate Seniority: MultiCare.


Find contacts about Dementia Friends in your own county