• assessment;
  • cognition;
  • cross-cultural;
  • dementia;
  • indigenous

Objectives: To describe the processes used to develop an instrument to assess cognition in the older Indigenous community of the Kimberley region of Western Australia, given the diverse history and culture of the region.

Methods: Cognition questions were discussed with Indigenous organisations, councils, linguists, interpreters and health professionals. Existing assessment tools were reviewed. The cognition questions and the way in which they were approached were trialled with older Indigenous participants.

Results: Questions to assess cognition were developed and incorporated into the Kimberley Indigenous Cognitive Assessment (KICA) instrument, which has since been demonstrated to be a valid and reliable assessment of cognition in older Indigenous Australians in the Kimberley.

Conclusion: The KICA-Cog questions in the KICA survey tool provide the first specific instrument for assessing cognitive decline in older Indigenous Australians. This instrument, or a modification of this instrument, is likely to have broader applicability across Indigenous communities in Northern Australia.