Punjabi-adapted dementia friends presentation

PICS staff collaborated with the Alzheimer Society of British Columbia (ASBC) and the research team to adapt the slides used for ASBC’s Dementia Friends workshop, to reflect South Asian realities. The presentation aims to dispel myths about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and create a more dementia-friendly community environment, but many images were of Caucasians in settings unfamiliar to most older Punjabis. Adaptation thus involved changing some images, and omitting and adding some slides to reflect specific information needs of Punjabi older adults (e.g. the importance of consulting with a family doctor).

Open the Punjabi-adapted Dementia Friends Workshop presentation

A Punjabi-speaking staff member of ASBC, familiar with the presentation content that is usually delivered in English, consulted with PICS staff as she prepared to deliver the presentation in Punjabi. PICS staff provided valuable input on her interpretation of the oral script into words familiar to the older Punjabi audience. Some words do not have a direct translation (e.g. dementia) into Punjabi. Some have slight changes in their meaning between languages, and other words typically used by older adults are no longer in use among younger generations, especially those in the Punjabi diaspora. Therefore, collaboration between these two agencies enabled the script to be interpreted into language used by and relevant to an older Punjabi audience.

Participants (N=68) were drawn from among PICS clientele and the meeting took place at their headquarters, which is already familiar and accessible to them. They were also invited by staff at PICS with whom they have established trusting relationships. It is essential that the locations of these workshops and the gatekeepers to them are known and trusted. PICS involvement was thus critical to recruitment of workshop participants and this collaboration built trust between PICS and ASBC.

We offered this workshop twice, tweaking the second to reflect feedback from the first. This feedback was derived from demographic and pre-post evaluation questions administered in Punjabi (the majority) or English, by choice. Participants in the first workshop were successful in identifying ASBC as a place where people with dementia and their families can find help. However, very few identified their family doctor when answering this question. Therefore, more emphasis was placed in the second workshop on the crucial role of family doctors in one’s access to dementia care. After this iteration, the majority of participants identified family doctors, as well as ASBC, as ‘dementia’ resources. Download the Project Overview for more details.

These workshops address the finding that dementia is little known and its symptoms are dismissed as ‘normal aging’ among older Punjabi speakers. In addition to immigrant-serving community and/or settlement agencies, these workshops could be held in natural gathering places such as gurdwaras, mandirs or mosques (Sikh, Hindu or Islamic temples).