JMIR Aging, 3(5), p. e40171, 2022
Background Racial/ethnic minority and immigrant caregivers of persons with dementia experience high rates of psychosocial stress and adverse health outcomes. Few culturally tailored mobile health (mHealth) programs were designed for these vulnerable populations. Objective This study reports the development of a culturally tailored mHealth program called Wellness Enhancement for Caregivers (WECARE) to improve caregiving skills, reduce distress, and improve the psychosocial well-being of Chinese American family caregivers of persons with dementia. Methods Community-based user-centered design principles were applied in the program development. First, the structure and curriculum of the WECARE program were crafted based on existing evidence-based interventions for caregivers with input from 4 experts. Second, through working closely with 8 stakeholders, we culturally adapted evidence-based programs into multimedia program components. Lastly, 5 target users tested the initial WECARE program; their experience and feedback were used to further refine the program. Results The resulting WECARE is a 7-week mHealth program delivered via WeChat, a social media app highly popular in Chinese Americans. By subscribing to the official WECARE account, users can receive 6 interactive multimedia articles pushed to their WeChat accounts each week for 7 weeks. The 7 major themes include (1) facts of dementia and caregiving; (2) the enhancement of caregiving skills; (3) effective communication with health care providers, care partners, and family members; (4) problem-solving skills for caregiving stress management; (5) stress reduction and depression prevention; (6) the practice of self-care and health behaviors; and (7) social support and available resources. Users also have the option of joining group chats for peer support. The WECARE program also includes a back-end database that manages intervention delivery and tracks user engagement. Conclusions The WECARE program represents one of the first culturally tailored social media–based interventions for Chinese American caregivers of persons with dementia. It demonstrates the use of community-based user-centered design principles in developing an mHealth intervention program in underserved communities. We call for more cultural adaptation and development of mHealth interventions for immigrant and racial/ethnic minority caregivers of persons with dementia.