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Cathryn

Cathryn Josif

Year of Award: 2016 Award State: Western Australia Health And Medicine > Indigenous
Health And Medicine > Diseases, Disorders And Syndromes
The Bob and June Prickett Churchill Fellowship to improve dementia services for remote dwelling Aboriginal people - New Zealand, USA, Canada
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The Bob and June Prickett Churchill Fellowship enabled me to attend the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in London. Additionally, I was able to visit service providers, managers, community members and researchers involved in the provision of dementia services to remote communities in Arizona, Sudbury and Wikwemikong (Ontario, Canada), and Aotearoa / New Zealand to learn about dementia research and the provision of dementia services.

The delivery of dementia services to Indigenous populations involves overcoming significant challenges. The services and researchers I visited have addressed these challenges in various ways.

Successful elements appeared to be: 

  • A community commitment to offer good quality aged care and dementia services in their community
  • Development of culturally appropriate tools to screen for dementia
  • Services delivered by Indigenous people, for Indigenous people
  • Cultivating and nurturing community workers skilled in the provision of dementia services
  • Genuine partnerships between researchers and communities to improve dementia services
  • A commitment to foster Indigenous research capacity building and career development
  • Recognising the importance of and incorporating Indigenous World Views 

Based on my observations I would make the following recommendations to improve dementia services for remote Aboriginal communities. I have focused, in the first instance the Kimberley region 

  • Development of a pathway map for remote Kimberley communities for the provision of dementia services.
  • Establishment of an Aboriginal Community Outreach position located in the regional centre to support remote communities.
  • An annual conference / Expo on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in the Kimberley.
  • Foster Aboriginal research capacity building and career development in dementia research
  • Establish a regional steering group of service providers and community members to promote elder well-being and improve dementia services for older Aboriginal people.
  • Increase opportunities for caregiver training and information in dementia in the community 

In order to contribute to the improvements and developments of dementia services in the Kimberley, I intend to share my experiences and observations through my professional and personal networks, and with relevant organisations and ministers. Most importantly I will share the knowledge I gained with remote Aboriginal communities in the Kimberley. I am optimistic that the learnings from my journey of discovery will foster improved journeys for Aboriginal people with dementia in remote Australian communities and their families.

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