Assessing Dementia and Frailty among Older Persons in rural Eastern Uganda
January 19, 2025
September 1, 2023
Stephen Wandera / Monica Diaz
Staffing, Organizational Collaboration, Increase outreach of project/program
Makerere University / University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Background: Dementia (memory problems) and frailty (weakness, fatigue) cause medical, social, and economic challenges. There is little research on how much these two health problems affect older people in Uganda, a country in East Africa.
Research question: What is the prevalence of and risk factors for frailty and dementia in older people in rural eastern Uganda? Similarly, what are the experiences of caregivers of these older people with dementia or frailty in Uganda?
Methods: We will conduct a survey study of adults over age 60 that live in villages of rural Uganda. We will interview 720 older men and women and 200-300 caregivers during the household survey. We will use memory tests developed to detect dementia (Identification and Intervention for Dementia in Elderly Africans, a set of memory tests specific to Uganda) and physical tests to detect frailty (the Fried criteria and sub-Saharan Africa Activity Questionnaire (SSAAQ); to assess caregiver burden, we will use the Zarit Caregiver Burden scale and conduct one-on-one interviews with caregivers asking about their experiences. We will also determine which risk factors may influence dementia and frailty the most.
Impact: Completing this study will allow us to determine the burden and risk factors that can be improved in order to help prevent worsening of dementia and frailty in these elderly Ugandans. It could also help the Ministry of Health provide resources and promote healthy brain aging in elderly Ugandans.