Phase 2: Engage

Step 2: Adapt the engagement process to your community

A.    Begin Anywhere. Every community has different needs, opportunities, abilities to prioritize and act on identified needs, and capacities to commit time and resources to conducting an assessment.  Set realistic goals based on your community’s situation.

B.    Set the Scope. Decide which method(s) you will use to engage the community (mailed or administered surveys, interviews, focus groups, or mixed). Determine how many of the interview questionnaires are reasonable or appropriate for your Action Team to complete. There are different questionnaires for different community sectors. You may choose to complete all or only some of the 11 sector-based questionnaires – there is no specific number required. Identify three places/people per sector to begin with and increase the contacts as needed to broaden the picture of the community’s strengths and gaps.

Adapting the Engagement Process to Your Community

Review all of the assessment questions to increase your team’s knowledge about the key elements of a dementia friendly community. 

Start with the resources you have and determine which key elements are most relevant. Working on one or a few initiatives is better than being immobilized by the ideal of a completely dementia capable community and not acting at all. 

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe

Focus Groups: Another Option for Engagement

Focus group discussions can result in deeper understanding by spurring participants to add opinions and ideas that they may have not thought to would bring up in a one to one interview. The environment is accepting with no right or wrong answers, rather various points of view.

They require 6-8 participants from the same sector, a moderator with 8-10 questions, and a note taker.  It is best to record the focus group so that comments are not missed.

The moderator must be able to remain neutral and be comfortable leading discussions, controlling a group in order to get as many ideas from all the participants, and asking questions to clarify expressed thoughts. 

Focus groups require more planning than interviewing and analyzing data may be more complex.

Make sure to consider how participants’ responses may be influenced by the presence of other focus group participants from their sector.  

Eliot & Associates, 2005, Guidelines for Conducting a Focus Group
Krueger, R. A. 2002, Designing and Conducting Focus Group Interviews