Cultural Competence and Dementia

Working with families can be challenging given the growing race and ethnic diversity of our population. In Hawaii, our multicultural population is both a strength and a challenge. A one size fits all health care system needs to be culturally responsive to avoid health and social disparities in health care. Culture is defined as a pattern of human behavior that includes thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of a racial, ethnic, religious, or social group.

Language translation is only part of the solution. There are cultural variations in the contextual definitions of disease and disability. Research has shown cultural variations in health beliefs about symptoms and disease etiology, appropriate treatments, and preferences for certain types of care. Given the cultural impact on health, how do memory care navigators and dementia capable professionals better communicate with elders and families, understand cultural values, and support planning and decision-making? This page is intended to help you with useful, culturally responsive resources:


ACT on Alzheimer’s Culturally Responsive Resources

Resources from ACT on Alzheimer’s to support persons with dementia from diverse backgrounds.

ACT on Alzheimer’s: Cultural Competence and Awareness

ACT on Alzheimer’s: General Resources

ACT on Alzheimer’s: Screening and Diagnosing Diverse Populations

Alzheimer’s Association – National

At the Alzheimer’s Association website, there are numerous links to topics, educational materials, resources and information. See the upper right of the page to access a “Languages” pull-down menu. The page will be translated automatically when selecting a language. Languages for Hawaii’s population include Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese.

Center for Interpretation and Translation Studies (CITS)

The Center for Interpretation and Translation Studies (CITS) was established in 1988 at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa to provide basic training in translation and interpretation.

Cultural Competence- Alzheimer’s Association

Resource includes: 5 elements for becoming culturally competent and 10 steps to providing culturally sensitive dementia care.

Diverse Communities and Alzheimer’s

This Alzheimer’s Association webpage provides useful information for African-American, Hispanic, and Asian populations.

East-West Concepts (operates from Big Island)

A company that can translate a document into another language.

Hawaii Language Bank

Hawaii Language Bank offers interpretation and translation services to the community in more than 35 languages.

Hawaii Language Roadmap Initiative

The University of Hawai’i at Manoa, with strong interest from the state of Hawaii’s Governor’s office, is coordinating the Hawai’i Language Roadmap Initiative to promote and support the study of foreign languages and cultures.

Helping Hands Hawaii: Bilingual Access Line

Kokua Mau: Hawaii Hospice & Palliative Care Organization

Translations of Advance Care Planning materials (downloadable), including Hawaii Advance Health Care Directive and Explanatory Information Sheet, POLST form for Hawaii and Consumer Guide to POLST, Questions about CPR, Tube Feeding Information Sheet

Language Services Hawaii

Language Services Hawaii helps government agencies, non-profits and companies with oral interpretation and written translation.

Office of Language Access (OLA), Hawaii Dept. of Health

Roster of language interpreters and translators in Hawaii

Translated Materials