A Mixed-Methods Formative Evaluation of a Dementia-Friendly Congregation Program for Black Churches

Janelle Gore, Jamilla Toliver, Miranda A. Moore, Dawn Aycock, Fayron Epps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Black churches have traditionally been a haven for Black American families; however, many churches do not currently have programs to support families living with dementia. Alter™ was established to assist faith communities in meeting the needs of these families and becoming a viable resource to promote their health and wellness. Alter™ achieves this aim through a three-pronged approach: (1) conducting educational sessions, (2) modifying Black churches to be dementia-inclusive spaces, and (3) providing ongoing support. The principal goal of Alter™ is to offer guidance to churches in adapting their community to reflect a supportive environment for families affected by dementia. Alter™ uses a partnership checklist to encourage activities that incorporate dementia education opportunities, environmental modifications, and dementia resources and support. This paper reports on a formative mixed-methods evaluation of church partners enrolled in Alter™. Church partner ambassadors within the faith communities participated in the evaluation survey (n = 8) and two focus groups (n = 11). Ambassadors are appointed by church leadership to lead the implementation of program activities. Data were collected concerning the levels of helpfulness, difficulty, usefulness, or utility of checklist activities and modifications and the ease of program implementation. The evaluation also assessed the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on each church’s ability to implement activities and modifications. The survey results revealed that most required partnership activities and modifications were found to be at least moderately helpful. Some of the items (themes) that differed across church partners included barriers to implementing activities, the support provided and needed, and the use of program funding. This evaluation provides key insights to consider in developing and refining community-based, dementia-friendly communities (including faith communities). As implementation science expands and improves, the need to evaluate the implementation of programs continues to be highlighted. Our formative evaluation shed light on key areas in which modifications to our original programming would lead to program improvement and sustainability. Additionally, implementing the modifications identified in our evaluation will facilitate the achievement of the mission of Alter™ to improve the well-being of older adults affected by dementia and their families. Other programs would reap substantial benefits from engaging in similar formative evaluation efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4498
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • African American
  • Black church
  • Dementia
  • Formative program evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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