Culturally Valued Dementia Hallucinations

Dementia in American Indian populations is rising due to increasing lifespan resulting in more individuals living into the ages of greatest risk. Epidemiologic specifics remain unclear. Also, cultural interpretations of dementia symptoms are little known except for a study with Oklahoma Choctaw people by J. Neil Henderson, a member of the tribe. In this study, Henderson asked community elders what would be the native term for late life cognitive impairment. There was no single word, but there were candidate terms. One term that they considered but then rejected was tasembo, which in popular English means “crazy.” This term was inadequate because a horse or dog could also be crazy, and this term could be applied appropriately to them. Another term was lupi achukma keyu, which ...

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