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The March Brain Health Resource Center In Action
The IA2 brain health team continues our busy days. Special highlights from this month:
- Last week’s virtual pilot of Dementia Friends for American Indian and Alaska Native Communities information session gave us 11 new Dementia Friends! We have 12 folks signed up to become Dementia Friends Champions too.
- Our Executive Committee met and talked about ideas for future products and a path to tribal leader resource development and engagement.
- Staff began work on a resource to provide tips to state and local health department staff to help with authentic engagement and resource adaptation with tribal and Alaska Native communities.
- Prep for several dementia and brain health presentations and posters to be presented at the ACL Title VI training and technical assistance conference is underway. Registration is free and open to the public.
- IA2 continues to offer an amazing, evolving Brain Health Resource Library for American Indian and Alaska Native community-focused resources. Be sure to check out:
- >>NEW: 2022 Facts and Figures on Dementia, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and Early Diagnosis with Highlights for Native Communities
- >>NEW: American Indian and Alaska Native Community Health Communications Survey Results
- Follow our Facebook page for campaigns and resources and please share within your circle to help us spread the word.
- We are very excited to be welcoming new members to our team! A huge welcome to both Jazmine and Breana. You can read more about them below.
- Be sure to follow IA2 on social media. You can check us out on Twitter for future campaigns and social media messages we invite you to borrow and re-use.
IA2 continues to offer print-on-demand stipends of $250 for flyers and posters from the IA2, ASTHO, and National Council for Urban Indian Health (NCUIH) suite of materials developed with funding from the CDC.
Click here to read our Resource Center updates, learn about our upcoming events, and what we’ve been doing to help American Indian and Alaska Native communities address brain health, Alzheimer’s, and dementia.
By: Jolie Crowder, International Association for Indigenous Aging; Inter Tribal Council of Arizona Staff; and Lori Nisson, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute
When life is disrupted by crisis, as it was in 2020, some people see opportunities – for change, for action, for introspection – that they might not otherwise see. Because of the pandemic, we have all had to pivot and make difficult changes. Concepts such as long-term planning became even more difficult.
Even during non-public health emergency times, long-term project planning can be difficult. Adding in the COVID pandemic, new emergency teleworking policies and tribes going into “emergency operations only” status and that would be more than enough to work through. Yet we know that when we all work together we will create a recipe for success in facing anything including health issues such as Dementia.
Supportive collaborations with veteran teams such as the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. (ITCA) Area Agency on Aging made things go more smoothly. The team, including Laurai Atcitty, Mary Weston, Jackie Edwards, and Flor Olivas was very helpful in their efforts to support elders. Atcitty is the Director of ITCA’s Area Agency on Aging (AAA). The ITCA-AAA supports the Older Americans Act (OAA) Title III and Title VII Programs for 17 tribal governments and the OAA Title VI Program for 4 tribes in Arizona.
Last year Atcitty and her team were awarded an Administration for Community Living (ACL) Tribal Alzheimer’s Disease Program Initiative (ADPI) grant. Tohono O’odham Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and the Hualapai Tribe are partners for the three-year project. The goal is to enable elders living with dementia and their caregivers to remain independent and safe in their homes. Activities include culturally appropriate information and training designed to increase tribal dementia-capable supports and services.
ADPI project manager, Mary Weston, brings years of direct service experience to the grant, including past work at the State of Arizona and in several Tribal communities. Weston is one of only a handful of Master Trainers in the U.S. for the evidence-based Powerful Tools for Caregivers program. The other PTC Master Trainer is ITCA Caregiver Support Program Coordinator, Jackie Edwards. The two plan to provide a dementia training session with the Powerful Tools training as part of their ADPI project. Tribal partner staff will be trained as Powerful Tools class leaders and offer the program with the added dementia content in their tribal communities.
The ITCA team joins up with Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI). BAI will bring non-medical dementia expertise and services from their Native American Outreach Program to the three participating tribes and will offer staff training to help build local capacity. Long-time Outreach Program Manager, Nicole Lomay; Family and Community Services Director, Lori Nisson; and Associate Director of Outreach, Heather Mulder have more than twenty years’ experience working with Arizona tribal communities. Lomay explained, “We are excited to partner with ITCA on the ADPI grant. We have always had mutual respect and support of each other’s programs. This brings great programs and opportunities to the tribal communities we serve across Arizona.”
Other big project activities include:
- Training local tribal staff as Dementia Friends Champions who will then bring the sessions to their tribes
- Walk With Me: Using Music for those with Memory Loss in Tribal Communities training for caregivers and people living with dementia using a new traditional/tribal music CD created by BAI
- Maintain a Healthy Mind brain health training in tribal communities
Though not a part of their ADPI project, ITCA has Master Trainers and Lay Leaders on staff who provide training in the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP), Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP), Enhance Fitness (EF) and A Matter of Balance (MOB) (falls prevention) programs. They are co-located with the ITCA tribal epidemiology center and have both environmental and water quality programs, among other public health and health promotion activities.
Additional resources and information:
Check out the just released 2022 Alzheimer’s Disease Program Initiative (ADPI) – Dementia Capability in Indian Country Grant Forecast – Estimated application due date May 28, 2022
More info. or resources from BAI Native American Outreach Program:
- Email to sign up for a new iteration of the Beacon, a free electronic newsletter, created for family and professional caregivers working with tribal communities.
- Navigating through Memory Loss: A guide for patients and families, an exceptional resource that addresses current and ongoing Alzheimer’s/dementia medical, emotional, social, and financial needs. Please email Nicole Lomayfor more information about cost and shipping.
- Native American Caregiver Circle Group, a group to discuss Alzheimer’s disease and provide strategies for caregivers of people with memory loss. Anyone who wants to learn more about this important topic, including caregivers, family members, and professionals, are invited and encouraged to join our conversation. Group discussions are held from 10:00 – 10:30 am (Arizona time) on the second Thursday of each month. Please email Nicole for dial-in details or questions.
- CARE T.I.P.S: Short and practical tips addressing some of the most common challenges caregivers face and providing simple solutions to address the situation effectively.
- Native American Toolkit on Alzheimer’s disease: This toolkit and training program is designed to help educate and support families impacted by Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias by training professionals that work in tribal communities. Email Nicole to schedule a training for your team or sign up for the next regularly scheduled Toolkit Training.
- Upcoming 16th Annual Conference on Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia in Native Americans, Oct. 19-20, 2022. For more information: Native American Alzheimer’s disease Conference.
New Research: APOE4 Gene Not Associated with Increased Risk for Dementia or Alzheimer’s in American Indian People
New research published in February indicate that the APOE4 gene, which has been tied to cognitive impairment (dementia and Alzheimer’s) in other populations, was not linked to the disorders for American Indian participants in a long-term study.
The apolipoprotein E gene APOE ε4 (APOE4) is known to be a significant genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Several studies, however, have indicated that the association between APOE4 and Alzheimer’s risk is different between racial and ethnic groups. For this study, published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, researchers identified carriers and noncarriers of the gene among the Strong Heart Study participants who were age 65 and older. When APOE4 carriers and noncarriers were compared, there was no difference in brain volumes or cognitive performance. Interestingly, there was also no difference in APOE4 carrier status between American Indian adults with and without memory deficits. What does this mean? They indicate that the APOE4 gene is not linked to neurodegeneration or cognitive impairment (dementia or Alzheimer’s) in American Indians. Despite earlier findings, this study shows that APOE4 carrier status does not affect the brain structure or cognitive function in American Indian populations.
Researchers suggest a possible reason may be an “evolutionary advantage” that comes from a history of an agricultural lifestyle and irregular access to food. This may have resulted in changes over time in how indigenous people stored up particular nutrients. Researchers called for better and more research to help understand the genetic, cultural, and environmental risk and protective factors for dementia, and more research on the number of American Indian people affected by dementia.
Citation: Suchy-Dicey A, et al. APOE genotype, hippocampus, and cognitive markers of Alzheimer’s disease in American Indians: Data from the Strong Heart Study. Alzheimer’s & Dementia. 2022. doi:10.1002/alz.12573
Dementia Friends for American Indian and Alaska Native Communities
IA² continued virtual pilots of the Dementia Friends for American Indian and Alaska Native Communities. This month IA² offered both an information session and a Champion training. We have been continually working with American Indian and Alaska Native communities to develop and improve the Dementia Friends content to better meet the needs of our communities.
Next month we will be re-convening a work group to consider changes to the content to improve readability and health literacy.
If you are interested in learning more about the Dementia Friends Initiative, participating in a review of the materials, piloting the training content, or attending an upcoming session, please visit our Dementia Friends page by clicking here.
Moving Together Research Program
Moving Together is an online group movement program for people with dementia and their care partners. Moving Together integrates physical, cognitive, and social activities that work with parts of the brain that remain intact as memory declines – muscle memory, mindfulness, and the ability to meaningfully connect with others.
Who can participate in the Moving Together program?
To qualify for the study, you or someone you care for must be diagnosed with mild to moderate dementia, participate as a pair (which includes a person with memory loss and a care partner), have access to a computer, laptop, or iPad with internet. The study seeks a person with memory loss and a care partner to join a 1-hour online class 2x a week for 12 consecutive weeks.
View the Moving Together video below.
Register Today: Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Adult Protection Services Tenth Annual Taking a Stand Against Elder Abuse
May 18 – 19, 2022 as Shoshone Bannock Hotel & Event Center, Fort Hall, ID
Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Adult Protection Services will host its tenth annual Taking a Stand Against Elder Abuse event May 18-19, 2022 at the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Hotel & Event Center. The Administration for Community Living is partnering with Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Adult Protection Services to help support this as a Training even for Title VI communities.
We are excited to see our own Dr. Jolie Crowder present at this event as part of a panel on dementia!
Download the registration form here.
Featured Resources & News
|Conference:||Taking a Stand Against Elder Abuse – 10th Annual Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Adult Protection Services|
|Native Elder Caregiver Family Caregiving Online Training Module|
|Resource:||How to Guide: Audience Check In for Cultural Adaptation of Materials|
Elder Resources – National Indian Council on Aging
|Research:||The costs of treating all-cause dementia among American Indians and Alaska native adults who access services through the Indian Health Service and Tribal health programs|
|Webinar:||Dementia Friends for American Indiana and Alaska Native Communities Champion Training March 30|
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