The Building Capacity Project is an asset-based community development initiative that aims to reduce stigma and promote social inclusion for people with dementia. Using a community-based participatory approach, we conducted research to examine the relational patterns and participatory practices within and across project sites in two different regions of Canada (Vancouver and Thunder Bay).
Five focus groups and five individual interviews were conducted with team members and community partners (n = 29) and analysed for themes.
The overarching theme of Making Space at the Table explains how the participation of people with dementia has served both as a value and a practice shaping the relational work throughout the project. Three sub-themes include: Maintaining a common foundation; Creating communication pathways; and Fostering personal connections.
Together, these findings show how community development can support the meaningful participation of people with dementia in their communities through processes of collaboration that focus on individual and collective strengths, that allow time for the work to unfold, and for building relationships that foster trust and respect for diversity.