Can a tool be adapted for Hispanic/ Latino caregivers to help reduce behavioral symptoms in people with dementia?
Magaly Ramirez, Ph.D.
University of Washington
Seattle, WA - United States
According to the 2020 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, studies indicate that Hispanics/Latinos are about one and one-half times more likely to develop dementia as older whites. Caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementia provide emotional support as well as assistance with several daily living activities. Past studies suggest that behavior symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s present unique challenges for caregivers, often impacting their emotional and physical health. Researchers are trying to develop cost-effective tools that can assist Hispanic/Latino caregivers to perform their caregiving duties.
Recently, a training program called STAR-Caregivers (Staff Training in Assisted-living Residence- Caregivers) has been developed to help support caregivers to address dementia-related behavioral symptoms. The program trains caregivers to create a living environment free of objects that can “trigger” a specific behavioral response in their care recipients. However, the STAR-Caregivers program has not yet been fully adapted to meet the cultural and language needs of Hispanic/Latino communities.
Dr. Magaly Ramirez and colleagues will develop and test a smartphone application that can make STAR-Caregivers a more effective tool for Hispanic/Latino caregivers. The first part of their study will focus on interviews with caregivers and health care and social service providers who have experience working with older adult Hispanics/Latinos and their families. The researchers will use these interviews to identify various relevant cultural factors that need to be addressed when designing the app. Dr. Ramirez and colleagues will then develop a prototype of an interactive app and use it to measure its effectiveness with a small group of Hispanic/Latino caregivers and care recipients. The researchers will study the usability of the app as well as assess its impact in improving the mental health and well-being of caregivers.
If successful, this project may help the development of more accessible and effective interventions and could support Hispanic/Latino caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.
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