A theory of cultural translation in healthcare for multilingual older adults living with dementia and their caregivers

Maria Roche-Dean, Angela Groves


Objective: The United States is a multicultural, multilingual country; as a recognized feature of the American population, the challenges of caregivers seeking services for multilingual older adults still need to be better understood. This study aims to understand the experience of caregivers who sought healthcare services for a multilingual older adult living with dementia.

Methods: Using Constructivist Grounded Theory, formal and informal caregivers participated in semi-structured interviews to ascertain their experiences seeking health services for multilingual older adults with dementia.

Results: Several themes emerged, including Cultural Translator, Mitigating Relationships, Leaning, Seeking Help, Meeting them where they are, and a Rigid Healthcare System. Lastly, the participants’ descriptions unveiled a phenomenon identified as cultural translator stress. Cultural Translator stress may occur due to the added responsibilities of advocacy, healthcare system navigation, language interpretation, and explanations of culturally based idioms on behalf of the multilingual older adult with dementia for the healthcare provider.

Conclusions: As our understanding of care for multilingual older adults with dementia improves, awareness of their caregiver's needs and mechanisms to support this unique population should emerge. Factors such as culture, access to culturally appropriate services, and services needed to support family caregivers are needed. Further studies are needed to understand the stressors related to caring for a multilingual adult living with dementia or the phenomenon of cultural translator stress.

Full Text:


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v14n1p12

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

Copyright © Sciedu Press 
To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the 'Sciedupress.com' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.