An Approach to Improve Dementia Health Literacy in Indigenous Communities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This project aims to improve health literacy in Indigenous communities through the development of evidence-based culturally relevant health promotion materials on dementia that bridge the gap between Indigenous and Western perspectives of the illness. The research team worked in partnership with Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Home and Community Care Program (FNIHCC) and consulted with Indigenous elders to utilize a two-eyed seeing framework that draws upon Indigenous knowledge and Western biomedicine. A consolidated review of materials and research involving Indigenous perspectives of Alzheimer’s and age-related dementias led to the development of two culturally appropriate fact sheets. Two Indigenous-specific fact sheets were developed “What is Dementia? Indigenous Perspectives and Cultural Understandings” and “Signs and Symptoms of Dementia: An Indigenous Guide.” The fact sheets prioritize Indigenous knowledge and pay particular attention to Indigenous languages, diverse Indigenous cultures, and literacy levels. The content uses phrasing and words from Indigenous people involved in the research to share information. Biomedical concepts and words were included when necessary but language or presentation of these aspects were often modified to reflect Indigenous conceptualizations. This project provides a foundation for evidence-based knowledge translation in relation to cultural safety in dementia care. Specifically, the researchers outline how health care providers can develop culturally appropriate health promotion material, thus increasing Indigenous cultural understandings of dementia and health literacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-83
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Cultural safety
  • First Nations
  • Health promotion
  • Indigenous knowledge
  • Knowledge translation
  • Two-eyed seeing

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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