Dementia care

Accessing medical care and social supports for persons with dementia and their care partners is a complex undertaking that requires the alignment of a diverse array of resources at the individual, social and organizational levels. The Candidacy Framework provides a valuable lens through which the constituent processes of this undertaking become more apparent.


The Pathways to Diagnosis study focused on the initial identification of a problem, which at some point comes to be labelled dementia, and the decisions and experiences associated with seeking help about it. In order to explore this transition in the context of the diverse ethnic, cultural and linguistic backgrounds of older Canadians, the Pathways study targeted four sites, each focusing on one of the main ethno-linguistic groups in the country: Anglo-Canadians in Calgary, Francophone Canadians in Ottawa, Indo-Canadians in Greater Toronto and Chinese Canadians in Greater Vancouver. I led the inquiry into Chinese Canadian access in the BC Lower Mainland. This highly collaborative team that included medical professionals as well as academics met frequently and contributed to one another’s site-specific publications and presentations. I further led the re-analysis of data from all sites through the lens of the Candidacy framework, which resulted in a peer-reviewed article focused on policy implications, as well as a book chapter.

Building trust

Building Trust is an integrated knowledge translation and knowledge to action  research project focused on access to dementia care and services among the Punjabi and Korean populations in the Fraser Health region. Our project aimed to develop strategies that facilitate greater access to the dementia knowledge, supports and services of Fraser Health and Alzheimer Society of British Columbia (ASBC) by older immigrants and their families. The sample included three distinct sets of study participants – focus groups of older adults and working age adults, dyad interviews with persons with dementia (PWDs) and their caregivers, and staff from dementia service agencies and immigrant serving agencies who partnered with us throughout the project. The results have generated innovative tools to be implemented at the dementia service and immigrant serving agencies. We have evaluated these tools to assess their impacts on increasing knowledge to facilitate greater access to dementia care and services among Punjabi and Korean immigrant older adults in Canada. This project helped to build trust between immigrant seniors and service providers and facilitate collaboration between organizations to offer effective dementia programs and services. In a 2019 article, we argued that fostering trust and sharing responsibility between complimentary service agencies were key to successful access.

The project is summarized in a Webinar presented at the BrainXchange in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Canada and the Canadian Consortium of Neurodegeneration in Aging.

NEW: Koehn, S. (2020, December 15). Dementia at the crossroads of culture and immigration: Punjabi and Korean experiences [Webinar]. Cultural Awareness in Dementia Care, Vancouver, BC. [see PPT slides].


Forum (Nov 2017): Once data was collected, and analyzed, we engaged 27 stakeholders (older adults, immigrant agency, health authority, and Alzheimer Society staff) in a 1-day workshop facilitated by Dr. David Fetterman in which they were engaged in providing feedback on the findings and prioritizing actions moving forward, according to Empowerment Evaluation principles.

The G.A.M.E (Gaining a cultural perspective, Accommodating language, Maximizing partnerships, Educating staff): Developed to facilitate participant engagement with the research findings at our stakeholder forum. The G.A.M.E, played at each of four tables, provided quotes and summaries and posed questions about solutions in four domains.

Infographic: Developed to readily communicate the research findings and knowledge mobilization processes employed in Phase.


Suite of innovations to increase access to dementia 

Building Trust Web Launch. Presentation to Fraser Health and other stakeholders, including research participants, of the Building Trust innovations (Fraser Health head office, Surrey, BC. June 20th, 2019). All materials can be accessed on the United Way of the Lower Mainland’s Healthy Aging CORE website. A discussion forum for CORE members will encourage a community of practice in relation to the use and adaptation of these open-access products.