Building Dementia Friends in Chinese and Samoan Communities

Dementia Friends is a global movement to change the way people think, act and talk about memory loss and dementia. The program aims to raise public awareness about dementia by mobilizing individuals to turn their increased understanding into positive action within the community.
In partnership with Dementia Friends USA and Dementia Friends Hawai’i, NAPCA is working to ensure our communities have equal access to opportunities where they can learn about dementia, including how to give and receive support. NAPCA is partnering with Mandarin Chinese and Samoan churches in Honolulu, Hawai’i to build Dementia Friends by delivering the translated training in a language they understand. Lessons learned from this project will enable NAPCA to mobilize Dementia Friends within Chinese and Samoan communities nationwide.
As NAPCA prepares to pilot Dementia Friends in 2019, we have been meeting with Chinese and Samoans to learn about dementia within these communities. When meeting, NAPCA asked people what they thought when hearing the word “dementia.” A Chinese man shared, “When I hear this word, I feel scared.”
NAPCA shares this concern, as we anticipate a substantial increase in AAPIs with dementia in the years ahead. For example, between 2010 and 2030, California, which is home to the nation’s largest population of AAPI older adults, expects Alzheimer’s disease to nearly triple among AAPIs.
When sharing with NAPCA what she thinks of when hearing the word “dementia,” a Samoan caregiver shared, “Alofa, or love, patience, kindness, compassion, gentleness, [and] healing,” underpinning the cultural strengths that lie within our communities to mobilize and strengthen dementia friendly communities across America. NAPCA is looking forward to working with our diverse communities to ensure AAPIs with dementia and their caregivers have the supports they need to age with dignity, well-being, and quality of life.
For more information about Dementia Friends, visit www.dementiafriendsusa.org