Ladson Hinton, a UC Davis specialist in geriatric psychiatry, has received a two-year, $370,000 grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to adapt an Alzheimer’s caregivers program for use in Vietnam.
Known as REACH (Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregivers Health) VA, the program was developed by the Veterans Health Administration to improve the capacities of those who care for loved ones with age-related dementias. Hinton is the first researcher to modify it for use in a foreign country.
“The dramatic growth in the number of elderly with dementia and increasing pressures on their families are major social issues in Vietnam,” said Hinton, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. “Our goal is to find culturally relevant ways to use REACH VA outside of the U.S., specifically in low- and middle-income countries with little or no infrastructure for providing community-based dementia services. This project can improve eldercare and caregiver health in Vietnam and for Vietnamese people in the U.S. as well.”
REACH VA offers training, support and resources aimed at enhancing problem-solving and coping abilities, along with comfort and skill in managing difficult behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s. The program has been shown to reduce depression, frustration and anxiety, and to increase an overall sense of empowerment among caregivers.
Together with co-principal investigator Huong Nguyen from the University of South Carolina, Hinton will conduct the project in collaboration with the National Geriatric Hospital in Hanoi, the largest and most modern geriatric facility in Vietnam. The hospital could eventually integrate REACH VA into its approach to community-based care. Neurologists and geriatricians from Vietnam will also have opportunities to visit UC Davis and its Alzheimer’s Disease Center to learn about clinical assessment processes in the U.S.
In addition to the NIA, the project is supported by the UC Davis Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences as part of its commitment to advancing mental health care practices worldwide.
“This study gives us an important opportunity to have a broader impact on Alzheimer’s and to help fill the gaps in our understanding of cultural differences in aging,” Hinton said.