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Wisconsin Dementia Resource Network (WDRN)

The WDRN is a collaboration of statewide partners which is convened by the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute to discover and share innovative best practices, resources, and information to help support people living with dementia and their families.  Many areas of Wisconsin have developed promising practices to enhance their dementia-friendly communities and help build dementia capable organizations in their community, however, these are not necessarily being shared widely around the state. Through the WDRN, WAI is spreading the word about programs, resources, services, and ideas that may be replicated in communities around the state.


The WDRN began in early 2017 with the formation of a Founding Task Force comprised of a small group of dedicated and experienced stakeholders who came together to describe the problem, establish the mission and vision, articulate the goals of the network, and define the process by which the goals would be met.


The WDRN mission is to enhance the ability of Wisconsin communities to create supportive and inclusive environments for all people living with dementia.


The vision of the WDRN is, “People living with dementia and those who care about them will feel respected, understood, welcomed, supported, and engaged in Wisconsin communities.”


WDRN Goals

The ultimate goal of the WDRN is to increase awareness, reduce stigma, and increase access to dementia-capable services, leading to earlier diagnosis and better quality of life for people with dementia.  This will be accomplished by:

  • Increasing the number of dementia-friendly communities in Wisconsin
  • Increasing the number and variety of programs that communities offer to help individuals with dementia and their families.
  • Increasing the number of dementia-capable organizations, particularly healthcare organizations, in Wisconsin.
  • Increasing the linkages between dementia-friendly communities and dementia-capable organizations, particularly healthcare organizations. 

WDRN Activities

In-Person and Web-Based Meetings

The Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute serves as the convener and backbone organization for the WDRN. This involves hosting two in-person and four phone-based meetings each year to highlight dementia best practices taking place in Wisconsin communities. Each meeting is focused around a specific theme related to building or enhancing dementia friendly communities, and each includes a panel of experts related to the selected topic. We strive to make the meetings as interactive as possible, so that participants can share their experiences regarding the topic at hand.


If you would like to be added to the WDRN email list to be informed of upcoming meetings and webcasts, contact Kathleen O'Toole Smith at



  • May 20, 2019, 6:30am-8:30am at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells. Topic: Dementia Friendly Education Program and Community Engagement. Register online at


TELECONFERENCES (noon to 1:00pm):

  • October 10, 2019
  • December 12, 2019

Click here to view recorded versions of previous webcasts.


Best Practice Guides

As part of the Wisconsin Dementia Resource Network’s (WDRN) goal to highlight best practices for creating dementia friendly communities in Wisconsin, WAI collaborates with statewide partners to author best practice guides for distribution to any and all who are interested. Four have been completed to date:

  • Wisconsin Memory Café Programs: A Best Practice Guide (authored by Susan McFadden, PhD), 2016 and updated in 2017
  • Dementia Friendly Libraries in Wisconsin: A Best Practice Guide, 2017
  • Dementia Coalitions in Wisconsin: A Best Practice Guide, 2018
  • Dementia Friends Wisconsin: A Guide for Getting Started, 2019

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