Language Apps to Reduce Caregiver Stress in Indigenous Peoples

Award Date: 2018

Project Lead(s): Carrie Bourassa, Scientific Director Canadian Institutes of Indigenous Peoples’ Health and Lorna Breitkreuz, Director of Client Services All Nations Healing Hospital

Project Title: Testing Locally Developed Language Apps to Reduce Caregiver Stress and Promote Aging in Place Related to Dementia in Indigenous Populations

What is the issue?

Older Indigenous peoples living with dementia face many barriers to using digital technology. Cognitive impairment often causes vision, memory, and mobility problems. These individuals may also lack experience with using digital technology and have no internet access.

What did we do?

We studied the readiness of older Indigenous peoples with dementia to adopt digital technology. We asked them to evaluate mobile language apps that aim to improve their quality of life and reduce caregiver stress. To conduct our research in a culturally appropriate way, we partnered with stakeholder groups and Knowledge Keepers to form research circles. These groups ensured participants were comfortable expressing their opinions and perspectives. Eleven older adults with some level of cognitive impairment, seven informal caregivers, and three clinicians took part in our study.

What did we find?

More than half of the older adults were using similar technology at home. By providing a culturally safe way to learn about new technology, caregivers were encouraged to use it more often to provide care to their loved ones. A few participants had not used digital apps before and were not interested.