It Takes A Village

It Takes a Village embraces community as a powerful way to help individuals facing Alzheimer’s and dementia—both care partners and persons on the dementia journey. Through the It Takes a Village program, fear of dementia and related stigma are reduced.

ITAV programs are grounded in non-pharmacological approaches to dementia which include exercise, learning opportunities, music, improvisational drama, reading clubs, and environmental design. Scientific studies of several such programs have shown improved quality of life, reduced depression, improved engagement, and even in some situations slowing down of cognitive symptoms.

The logic behind It Takes a Village is shockingly simple.  Because mental and physical engagement improve the quality of life of people with dementia, their partners and family members, maximizing engaging events for them will improve their lives. 

Every community offers a rich variety of ‘engagement’ opportunities. Cultural institutions such as symphony orchestras, museums and art galleries, libraries and theaters often have excess capacity.  With carefully designed dementia-friendly programs, such places can easily serve the community’s dementia and dementia-caregiving citizens—at minimum cost.

Health economics shows that community-based programs pay for themselves in reduced nursing home placement, less caregiver burnout, better caregiver health and less depression, among other public health outcomes.

Dr. Lisa Wong and son perform, It Takes a Village, I'm Still Here Foundation

Committed community partners are essential for It Takes a Village programs to be successful—cultural partners, community partners, and research partners.

Cultural Partners include potential venues for community programs—theatres ( is this the most often used spelling?), museums, arts centers, historical homes, zoos, public markets, neighborhood libraries, public parks, sports venues as well as commercial public settings—restaurants, cafes, yoga studies, bookstores. Every public municipal, not-for-profit, and commercial setting is a potential cultural partner for It Takes a Village. We take an asset-based approach to building programs around a community’s strengths.

Community Partners include all the places where potential participants in community programs live and spend their days—community centers, day centers, NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community) apartment complexes, assisted living residences, and nursing homes. Among the most important community partners are those who can commit civic resources to an It Takes a Village program such as a community’s Mayor’s office, City Council, or a town’s Selectmen who can bring official recognition and a stamp of approval to the program. Also necessary are potential community resource groups such as Community Foundations and Rotary Clubs that can bring financial resources to bear.

The ISH Foundation has built a track record of successful community engagement with Persons Living With Dementia.  The Foundation is now committed to two objectives: to advise and support communities committed to implementing such a program, and to finance and support committed groups interested in implementing a new non-pharmacological program based on I’m Still Here principles.