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Responsive dementia service for people from BAME & Refugee communities

Wednesday 4 July 2018

The importance of responsive and relevant services for people living with dementia from Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee communities


The following article was informed by Gulten Fedayi, who is a carer for her mother who is living with dementia. Gulten contributed to the NDAA From Seldom Heard to Seen and Heard campaign attending a roundtable on post-diagnostic support for BAME people living with dementia. Gulten and her mother are both from Turkey and she described the issues she encountered caring for her mother where English is not their first language.

It is estimated that by 2021 the number of people living with dementia in the UK will have increased to 1 million, a percentage of which will be from black, Asian minority ethnic and refugee (BAME) communities. The UK’s multicultural requires that service planning and delivery reflects the cultural diversity of needs of those communities. One area of public policy and service provision that is of increasing importance is dementia, and how this is understood and managed among BAME communities.
It is therefore imperative that commissioners, providers and stakeholders of dementia care services considers a review / assessment of existing provision to ascertain the extent in which their respective dementia support services are well placed to offer a culturally responsive support and care service to people from BAME communities.

The level of awareness about dementia and the existence of stigma amongst the BAME communities could be one element for why BAMEpeople are currently under-represented in dementia services. Another reason may be because current provision fails to adequately demonstrate an understanding of, and competences to address, the diversity of cultural needs presented by people from BAME communities.
A collaboration between relevant commissioners, providers, decision-makers and BAME representatives to advance improved awareness of the cultural needs of people living with dementia from BAME communities would:

  • Raise awareness of how culture may impact on the experience of dementia within an overall person-centred approach
  • Provide an opportunity to devise a set of principles for communicating effectively with people with dementia, their carers and family from BAME communities
  • Inform current assessment frameworks, including screening for dementia, through a culturally appropriate approach

For further details on issues faced by BAME people living with dementia visit our #demenntiaseenandheard campaign here.