Knowledge Resources & Publications

ISBN (Print) :978-1-77368-332-4 | ISBN (Online) :978-1-77368-333-1

Regine Halseth

Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias in Indigenous Populations: Knowledge, Needs, and Gaps

August 2022

While rates of dementias have historically been low among First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada, they are expected to rise more rapidly than the general Canadian population due to their higher rates of risk factors for these diseases. Barriers to optimal dementia care are often considerable for Indigenous people due, in part, to the lack of knowledge about, or access to, appropriate and culturally relevant information about dementia and available supports. These barriers can lead to delayed health care seeking behaviour, diagnosis, care, and treatment, resulting in poorer quality of life and health outcomes for individuals with dementia and their caregivers. In recognition of the need to address specific knowledge needs and gaps related to dementia, the federal government released a national dementia strategy in 2019, which emphasized the need to engage with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis stakeholders to develop distinctions-based and culturally appropriate solutions and resources to help care providers deliver quality care and enhance understanding of the disease in Indigenous communities.

This report summarizes what is known about the knowledge, needs, and gaps of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples and healthcare practitioners working in Indigenous communities related to dementias. It provides a review of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis understandings of dementias, their perceptions of healthy aging, and their preferences for care. It then provides an overview of the barriers and facilitators of knowledge translation and exchange about dementia care and management in Indigenous communities, followed by a summary of the knowledge needs and gaps related to dementia care in Indigenous settings. The paper concludes with a discussion of some considerations for developing culturally appropriate dementia resources in Indigenous communities, and some examples of existing dementia education, tools, and resources.

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