Process Evaluation of a Dementia-Friendly Communities Workshop
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Background: One of the goals in the Washington State Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias is “to infuse age-friendly and dementia-friendly concepts into local communities.” To build dementia-friendly communities (DFCs), the University of Washington Memory and Brain Wellness Center (MBWC) works with its partners to develop events, programs, and resources that ensure that individuals living with memory loss remain active members of the community and have opportunities to stay active, be connected, and give back. One such MBWC program is “Our Time Has Come” (OTHC). Originally offered as a program in the general community, OTHC was administered for the first time in a senior living facility in the spring of 2017. Purpose: The purposes of this process evaluation were: (1) to evaluate OTHC’s primary objective (i.e. to provide an accessible, meaningful, and successful opportunity for people living with memory loss to design and complete a DFCs project); (2) to understand the program experience of OTHC participants, OTHC staff, and staff members of the hosting senior living community; and (3) to examine OTHC’s underlying mechanism, including immediate outcome (i.e. perceived accessibility), mediators (i.e. perceived impact on the community, sense of success), and intermediate outcomes (i.e. sense of purpose, self-esteem, general and community services self-efficacy, sense of connection to the community). Methods: This process evaluation adopted a descriptive cross-sectional design using qualitative methods, including a focus group and semi-structured individual interviews. Purposive sampling was used to ensure that participants of this process evaluation consisted of OTHC participants, OTHC staff, and senior living staff. Thematic analysis was used to analyze focus group and interview transcripts. Results: One focus group and 12 individual interviews were conducted with 7 OTHC participants, 2 OTHC staff, and 3 senior living staff. OTHC participants completed their DFCs project within the 8-week program duration. Thematic analysis revealed four main themes relevant to interviewees’ overall experience or overall impression of OTHC: (1) a positive experience overall, (2) from initial confusion to “I’m glad I did it!”, (3) a cohesive group made up of the right mixture of people, and (4) successful participant recruitment and retention. OTHC achieved its primary objective, immediate outcome, and mediators, and partially achieved its intermediate program outcomes. Conclusion: OTHC can be successfully implemented in a senior living community setting. OTHC completers, OTHC staff, and senior living staff all had a positive overall experience of the program. Program participants’ individual differences (e.g. personal calling, success appraisal, ceiling effect, etc.) may affect the program’s intermediate outcomes. The MBWC should ensure that participants understand the program purpose at the time of enrollment.
- Health services