50+ and Elders Health Survey in the Northwest Territories

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area, North Slave Region

Tags: health, social sciences, health care, elders

Principal Investigator: Sharma, Sangita (9)
Licence Number: 16488
Organization: University of Alberta
Licensed Year(s): 2019 2018
Issued: Feb 04, 2019

Objective(s): To investigate health conditions of Indigenous seniors, their access to and use of health services in the NWT and experiences using the health services.

Project Description: Indigenous seniors may face many challenges in accessing health care, and day-to-day living supports. These challenges may be isolation from health and community centers, unable to get to the centers to use the services available or they may not speak English. Seniors have a high risk of heart disease, diabetes, falls, as well as possible decline in memory and thinking skills. However, there is very little information on the current health conditions of Indigenous seniors, as well as personal health behaviors and available healthcare services. The team will talk to men and women; over 50 years of age; caregivers, health professionals and key leaders in Inuvik and Yellowknife, about the health condition of Indigenous seniors, their access to and use of health services in the NWT and experiences using the health services.

This study is at the request of those community members who support and care for Indigenous seniors and the Government of the NT (who are responsible for all healthcare in NT and partners in this proposal). The Director, Aboriginal Health and Community Wellness Division and the Chief Public Health Officer have collaborated with Dr. Sharma on many previous projects and were instrumental in the development of this proposal with the communities. The team has consulted extensively with the Community Advisory Board (CAB), which is made up of Indigenous peoples, and those from Yellowknife and Inuvik who have extensive experience with Indigenous seniors in Canada's North. Additionally, Dr. Sharma and her team have experience working with Northern Inuit and Inuvialuit people, specifically to develop and implement community-based interventions (Health Foods North).

The team will train local community members to help with the study and data collection and will be certified to ensure all data are comparable. The team and trained community members will talk with 75 Indigenous seniors in Inuvik about the challenges for living and aging in the NT and their own health condition.

Key informant interviews and sharing circles will be held in Inuvik and Yellowknife to obtain feedback from key stakeholders, caregivers, family members and community members regarding barriers and opportunities that Indigenous seniors have for using healthcare services. With the participants' permission, all the information will be collected by note taking method.

If interested, all women and men who are over 50 years of age, living for more than 6 months in Inuvik will be invited to take part in the one-on-one interviews. The CAB will help the team make and spread out posters telling the communities about the project. CAB members will ask their family and friends to take part in the study. The team will meet with seniors at the community and health centers while the team members are in the community and ask people to answer the questions. The project hopes to talk with 75 people from Inuvik for this part of the project. Participants will be given the choice of completing the questionnaires in either English or their local language. The interviews will be conducted by a trained member of the community to eliminate any language barriers. The interviews may be conducted in the community center or at the participants' home, or any convenient and confidential location.

Once the results are ready (in 2019) the study team will travel to share initial findings with the CAB, GNWT, community groups and members of Yellowknife and Inuvik and Norman Wells. In late 2019 the team will travel again to NT to present all final results and data. A draft report based on the findings will be prepared and presented to all partners and interested groups. Based on input from everyone, a final report and presentation will be prepared. Community members will be involved in the preparation and presentation of the findings and will be invited to Edmonton to work with the team to prepare the final report. An oral presentation and feast will be held at the local community meeting places and everyone in the community will be invited to receive the results. Team and trained community members will facilitate the presentations. The team will also give a hard-copy report to the CABS, the community members of Yellowknife and Inuvik, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the Gwich’in Tribal Council, the Nihtat Gwich’in Council, the NT Senior's Society, the Coordinator of the Elders Day Program at Inuvik Regional Hospital, Aurora Research Institute and the GNWT. The project is within the guidelines set at the International Workshop on Ethical Issues in Health Among Circumpolar Indigenous Populations (1995); Ownership, Control, Access and Possession (OCAP). This means that the proposed project will follow all OCAP principles. It is acknowledged and respected by the team that the right of self determination of the Indigenous peoples includes the jurisdiction to make decisions about research in communities. The benefits to the communities, to each region and to the national effort should be strengthened by the research. Research should facilitate the Indigenous communities in learning more about the health and well-being of Indigenous seniors, taking control and management of health information and to assist in the promotion of healthy lifestyles, practices and effective program planning.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from February 4, 2019 to December 31, 2019.