About the Report
Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are recognized as an emerging health issue in Indigenous communities. Indigenous elders are considered to be among Canada’s most vulnerable citizens because they often face complex health issues stemming from socio-economic marginalization and a legacy of colonialism in addition to barriers in accessing health care. They have higher rates of many of the risk factors for dementia. As a result, the rates of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRDs) are expected to increase more rapidly among Indigenous elders compared to non-Indigenous older adults. Despite this recognition, relatively little is known about ADRDs among Indigenous peoples in Canada.
This paper summarizes what is known about the prevalence of ADRDs, the challenges associated with diagnosing dementias, and the risk factors associated with the development of dementias in Indigenous populations. The paper highlights several knowledge gaps with respect to the prevalence of various forms of dementia among different groups of Indigenous peoples, as well as differences in the way dementias present in Indigenous communities. The paper concludes by highlighting the need for integrated multi-sectoral approaches to address socio-economic equities and health disparities as preventative measures for ADRDs.
Copyright: 2018 National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health (NCCAH). This publication was funded by the NCCAH and made possible through a financial contribution from the Public Health Agency of Canada.