Black and minority ethnic communities and dementia: Where are we now?

Author(s): Truswell, David;  

Briefing series: Better Health Briefing Paper 30

Publisher: Race Equality Foundation

Publication date: November 2013

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          Black and minority ethnic communities and dementia: Where are we now?
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This briefing looks at developments in the UK since the launch of the National Dementia Strategy in 2009.  It uses census data to estimate the number of black and minority ethnic people living with dementia in the UK, and proposes innovative solutions for care, including the use of community dementia navigators.

Key messages:

  • Dementia is recognised as a worldwide health priority but research on dementia in general is poorly funded. Little is known about its relative prevalence in black and minority ethnic populations, although there is a growing body of evidence that the Black African-Caribbean community in the UK has a higher prevalence of vascular dementia than other communities.
  • Although the National Dementia Strategy provides strong policy recommendations, there is a need to ensure that these are implemented appropriately, and take into account the information and support needs of black and minority ethnic communities.
  • Prevalence of dementia in some communities in the UK has been significantly underestimated.
  • Dementia is misunderstood and highly stigmatised in many UK black and minority ethnic communities. There are organisations that have developed good practice in working with black and minority ethnic communities, but there needs to be a more developed structure to share the learning from good practice. There should be a vision of a culturally appropriate approach to the dementia pathway that starts from raising awareness, leads to facilitating early diagnosis and lasts into appropriate end-of-life care.
  • An economic case could be developed for financing improvements in ‘living well’ with dementia for people in black and minority ethnic communities, with targeted awareness raising and improvements in community based support.

Sections:

  • What is dementia?
  • The UK Dementia Policy Framework and its implementation
  • Prevalence of dementia and black and minority ethnic communities
  • Differential impact of dementia in black and minority ethnic communities
  • The economic case
  • A new role – a black and minority ethnic community dementia navigator?