There are currently 850, 000 people living with dementia in the UK of whom approximately 25,000 are estimated to be from a minority ethnic background. The number of people from minority ethnic communities living with dementia is set to increase to 50,000 by 2051 and 172,000 2051. This is a seven-fold increase in 40 years compared to the two-fold increase in the majority population. Race Equality Foundation (Bradford University) have published a briefing paper on ‘Dementia and Minority Ethnic Carers’. Here our very own Shahid Mohammed, responds to this paper:
” ‘They look after their own!’ – a phrase some in the South Asian communities are only too familiar with, so I am pleased that this rather misguided and presumptuous concept, often held by health care professionals, has been underlined and highlighted as a key message from this Race Equality Foundation report. From our work, and with the inception of our Dementia Dekh Bhaal (south Asian carers project) in Rochdale, we know that family carers often struggle to care for a relative with dementia, but when you factor in the triple jeopardy of cultural, social and often practical barriers, the task of caring becomes neigh impossible and we know that the family carer’s own mental and physical health is affected.
Whilst national policies and strategies seem ever stuck at pushing for equality in terms of having appropriate dementia awareness, diagnosis and post diagnosis support for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people with dementia and family carers across England, in Rochdale we have started the ground-breaking, implementation work to actually put ideological policies and academic research into actual, tangible and measurable actions.
While I welcome this report, I do hope we begin to see services that are fit for purpose and that the healthcare professional and commissioners take a more nuanced and equitable approach when designing, delivering and evaluating dementia services.”