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Can J Aging. 2019 Jun 10:1-15. doi: 10.1017/S071498081900028X. [Epub ahead of print]

Cultural Understandings of Dementia in Indigenous Peoples: A Qualitative Evidence Synthesis.

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Department of Family Medicine and Biobehavioral Health,University of Minnesota Medical School Duluth, Duluth Minnesota.
School of Rural and Northern Health,Laurentian University, Sudbury,Ontario.


ABSTRACTAge-related dementias present a significant health concern in Canada, particularly for Indigenous communities, in which rates of dementia are estimated to be 34 per cent higher than in the general Canadian population. This article reports on a qualitative evidence synthesis of available literature concerning cultural understandings of dementia in Indigenous peoples in Canada. Key findings suggest that although exploration of this topic is on the rise in Canada, there remains a paucity of research on this topic, particularly among the Inuit and Métis. The synthesis of the literature found that dementia is viewed as a natural part of the life cycle by many Indigenous people; and although this presents significant challenges for caregivers, informal and community models of care are routinely practiced. This synthesis will be useful for health care providers and organizations that are searching for appropriate approaches to respond to the needs of Indigenous patients and families experiencing dementia.


Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias; Indigenous health; aging; caregiving; culture; dementia; démence; maladie d’Alzheimer et démences apparentées; prestation de soins; santé autochtone; vieillissement


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