‘Dementia in Indian Country’ Events

On August 7th members of the CCHE team were excited to attend the ‘Dementia in Indian Country’ educational event at the Radisson Hotel in Green Bay, WI.

Dr. Donald Skenandore (Oneida Tribal Member) and Dr. Blythe Winchester (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Member) spoke on Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, and how it all affects members of Native communities including the person with dementia, their caregivers and loved ones and health and other providers.

Dr. Skenandore advised the audience, made up of Oneida community members and others, on the myriad ways to keep your brain healthy as you age. He explained that up to half of dementia cases are attributable to lifestyle such as healthy diet and leisure activities, which are all factors that can be modified and controlled. Dr. Skenandore also encouraged the audience about gaining confidence with being able to effectively voice concerns about behaviors of a loved one to healthcare providers, to be able to advocate for yourself and your family members.

Dr. Winchester energetically engaged the audience by sharing about her family and personal connection to dementia. She drew attention to the unkind language that can be used around dementia. Terms such as ‘Caregiver burden’ can do a disservice to those involved in caregiving who take great pride in the role. She suggested using alternative terms such as ‘caregiver concerns’, ‘effort’ ‘demand’ and/or ‘responsibility.’ Dr. Winchester also illustrated how she culturally tailors standardized case examples in assessment tools so they are more recognizable to the person/population with which you’re interacting.

The event was very well attended with nearly 100 audience members.  The Oneida Nation Commission on Aging (ONCOA) Board members were pleased to share that they’ll be expanding in December 2018 to invite multiple tribes to attend a similar event in Green Bay.

Importantly, the UW Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center will host Dr. Winchester for a presentation in Madison in December. CCHE will share more details about the winter 2018 events when they become available. CCHE and the ONCOA Board deeply appreciate the collaboration with Dr. Gleason that began in 2015 and has been nurtured into successful tribal-academic partnered events!

CCHE is a proud co-sponsor of these Oneida Elder education events, along with the Native American Center for Health Professions (NACHP), the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC), and the Oneida Nation.

The featured image is via the UW Native American Center for Health Professions (NACHP).