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Caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias are a population in need of support as they are vulnerable to emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion associated with caregiver burnout. While CDC guidelines state that social distancing is the greatest protective factor, it can already exacerbate feelings of isolation and stress. Technology offers the opportunity to maximize socialization and access to healthcare; however, research shows that digital platforms are most underutilized by older and lower socioeconomic patients.
This report describes the transition of a weekly caregiver support group from telephone to video conferencing to improve connectedness during a period of social isolation.
In 2020, the caregiver support group met weekly over the phone. At each session, there were increased discussions of moving the telephone support group to a video platform. A focused discussion about technology platforms was held to gain an understanding of caregiver attitudes and thoughts regarding technology in which caregivers worried that a video platform would be intrusive and invasive. In June 2020, unreliable phone service resulted in the group transitioning to video.
The caregiver group consisted of 5 active members, 2 African American, 2 Asian, and 1 Caucasian. Initial problems included connectivity issues, needing to switch to multiple devices, and assistance with troubleshooting and utilizing the platform. However, caregivers reported feeling that the transition to video was the most natural next step and assisted with reducing feelings of isolation, anxiety, and fear they reported as a result of social distancing due to COVID-19. Caregivers reported feeling connected and because they knew each other so intimately, no longer felt video was intrusive.
For older populations who are not familiar with technology, it is important to take steps before beginning a new platform service. This allows for a natural progression to unfamiliar technology. The video platform provided an opportunity for caregivers to be together while apart, which is important for mental health and decreasing caregiver burden.
To develop an educational video to reach elderly Latinos in order to improve understanding and encourage evaluation of cognitive changes by 1) using focus groups to identify dementia knowledge gaps, health communication preferences and trusted advisors for health concerns; 2) collaborating with elderly Latino community members to create a video; and 3) collecting survey data regarding community response to the video.
Grounded theory qualitative approach using focus groups; collaborative community based model to create the video and anonymous survey at community screenings.
Community senior centers in East Harlem, New York.
A team of low-income mono and bilingual elderly Latino community residents, researchers, clinicians, and a film professional.
Thematic analysis of focus group transcripts; three item survey.
A collaboratively produced video and initial assessment in 49 Latino elders that indicated the video had a positive effect on interest in obtaining a brief memory screening at outreach events (71%).
The project demonstrates the feasibility of this interdisciplinary partnership to create a culturally and linguistically sensitive video to promote service use concerning memory loss and cognitive evaluations among elderly Latinos. Initial survey results suggested a positive response and an increase in interest in memory screening.
This study aimed to determine the diagnostic utility of a Chinese test battery for evaluating cognitive loss in elderly Chinese Americans.
Data from a pilot study at the Mount Sinai Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center was examined. All participants were > 65 years old, primarily Chinese speaking, with adequate sensorimotor capacity to complete cognitive tests. A research diagnosis of normal mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or Alzheimer’s disease (AD) was assigned to each participant in consensus conference. Composite scores were created to summarize test performance on overall cognition, memory, attention executive function, and language. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to assess the sensitivity of each cognitive domain for discriminating three diagnostic categories. Adjustment was made for demographic variables (i. e., age, gender, education, primary language, and years living in the USA).
The sample included 67 normal, 37 MCI, and 12 AD participants. Performance in overall cognition, memory, and attention executive function was significantly worse in AD than in MCI, and performance in MCI was worse than in normal controls. Language performance followed a similar pattern, but differences did not achieve statistical significance among the three diagnostic groups.
This study highlights the need for cognitive assessment in elderly Chinese immigrants.
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