Event Date: Mar 21, 2019

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The Building Trust project aimed to understand the process of gaining access to dementia-related information, diagnosis, care and psychosocial supports by Punjabi- and Korean-speaking older adults with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias and their informal caregivers living in the Fraser Health region of British Columbia, Canada. 

To understand interactions between care recipients and care providers, we conducted  semi-structured interviews with 20 staff members (11 dementia service staff from ASBC and the health authority, and 9 immigrant-serving staff working with Punjabi or Korean communities), and with 15 dyads of persons with dementia (PWD) and their informal care partners (10 Punjabi; 5 Korean), as well as 6 focus groups, one each with older men, older women, and working age men and women in each of the Punjabi and Korean communities. 

The regional health authority and Alzheimer Society chapter in British Columbia have valuable resources on dementia and other health and social supports, but they do not know how to adapt their policy and practice tools to address the complex problems of access for immigrant older adults and their families. Staff in immigrant-serving agencies typically understand the multiple barriers and facilitators to access for these populations and are better positioned to gain the trust of immigrant older adults. 

In the second phase of our study we sought to promote partnerships between such the dementia care and immigrant service sectors to produce initiatives that addressed concerns identified in the research for each of the Punjabi and Korean-speaking populations. This process built trust and understanding between participating partners as well as tangible products that can be sustained over time and shared with other agencies.

This integrated KTE webinar event is brought to you by brainXchange in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Canada and the Canadian Consortium of Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA)


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Sharon Koehn, Ph.D., University Research Associate & Term Lecturer, Department of Gerontology, Simon Fraser University

Sharon Koehn, PhD, is a University Research Associate in the Department of Gerontology at Simon Fraser University. Trained as a medical anthropologist, Dr. Koehn has been conducting interdisciplinary community-based research with immigrant older adults since 1990. Dr. Koehn is currently funded by the Alzheimer Society of Canada to conduct research on the experiences of dementia by Punjabi and Korean older adults, and to understand how immigrant-serving agencies can partner with ASBC and the regional health authority to increase access to dementia information and supports. In another SSHRC-funded study she has focused on the lived experiences of immigrant older adults as captured by photovoice and life story methods and exhibited in community centres across the Lower Mainland of BC. She is now using the exhibit as a springboard for themed discussions with policy makers and practitioners to promote changes that can create more accessible and welcoming communities for immigrant older adults. Other current and completed projects have researched health care access, chronic disease self-management support, quality of life in Assisted Living, and mental health promotion. Dr. Koehn regularly partners with immigrant serving agencies, municipalities, and health and government authorities to conduct research in alignment with integrated knowledge translation principles.