Promoting dementia awareness in African-American faith communities

Fayron Epps, Karah Alexander, Glenna S Brewster, Lauren J Parker, Mia Chester, Audrey Tomlinson, Aisha Adkins, Sabrina Zingg, Jacque Thornton
Public Health Nursing 2020 June 18

INTRODUCTION: Alzheimer's disease and other dementia-related disorders are affecting the African-American community at alarming rates. African-American churches have traditionally been places of refuge where families go for support. However, many churches lack programs or resources to support families affected by dementia. In response, a nurse-led interdisciplinary collaborative partnered with churches to promote dementia awareness through education.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this analysis was to (a) describe the demographics of those seeking dementia education in African-American faith communities; (b) identify prior knowledge of dementia community resources; and (c) determine the preliminary usefulness of the education provided.

METHODS: Over the course of 16 months, 202 individuals attended nine educational sessions hosted by five churches across metropolitan Atlanta. Quantitative surveys were used to collect demographics and evaluate the educational sessions.

RESULTS: The majority of attendees were African-American adults (91%), women (75%), and unaware of dementia resources (66%). Several attendees identified themselves as church leaders, community/church members, caregivers, and/or healthcare professionals. Attendees expressed the educational content was applicable to themselves or their families.

CONCLUSION: Results help identify ways to alter and/or strengthen the educational content and serve as a guide for developing culturally relevant, faith-based community programs.

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