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Press Release: Portsmouth Becomes the First Dementia Friendly Community in New Hampshire

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Wentworth Senior Living, a nonprofit senior living community well-known in Portsmouth for more than 100 years, has initiated a movement to become the first dementia friendly city in New Hampshire. A collaboration between Wentworth Senior Living, Portsmouth Senior Services, and Alzheimer’s Association.

Wentworth Senior Living, in collaboration with Portsmouth Senior Services, recognizes the need for multi-sector dementia education training. By taking this proactive stance, community personnel including police, fire, emergency medical service providers, grocers, bankers, teachers, and religious affiliates will learn about the disease and how to recognize its symptoms. Community members will also discover how to effectively communicate with and assist those they believe may have the disease.

Supported by Portsmouth’s Mayor, Jack Blalock, Chief of Police Robert Merner, and Fire Chief Steve Achilles, this movement was influenced by the Dementia Friendly America initiative, an organization with a pursuit to create dementia friendly communities where all people can live, age, and thrive.

“Portsmouth, is a forward-thinking community who cares deeply for its neighbors,” said Jack Blalock, Mayor of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “As mayor of Portsmouth, I support this initiative wholeheartedly and applaud Wentworth Senior Living for recognizing the imminent need for dementia training and education.”

There are currently 5.4 million people in America that have Alzheimer’s Disease. With the aging population doubling within the next fifteen to twenty years, Wentworth Senior Living recognizes that those living with dementia should not be debilitated by the disease.

“This dementia friendly initiative is a natural extension of an already age-friendly community,” said Brinn Sullivan, senior services supervisor for the City of Portsmouth and manager of the Senior Activity Center. “We’re proud to join Wentworth Senior Living in this movement. Through these trainings, and other future projects, we hope that the community develops a more sympathetic approach to the disease. We want to ensure that those living with dementia, and their caregivers, do not become isolated and continue to be welcomed within the community.”

“It is essential that we, as a community, are cognizant that dementia is a public health issue. Becoming dementia-friendly is not only imperative for those with dementia, but also for their caregivers and loved ones,” said Jenna Dion, Senior Living Program Specialist at Wentworth Senior Living. “It takes a village to make an impact.”

Wentworth Senior Living and the Portsmouth Senior Services are assembling a team of passionate parties to kick off with phase one of this initiative, labeled the convene stage. If you are interested in learning more about the initiative or would like to participate, please contact Jenna Dion at Wentworth Senior Living at