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Dealing with Dementia

'A continuing stigma around talking openly about dementia can mean many families struggle without help.'

THE NUMBER of people suffering from dementia from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups in the UK is growing at an alarming rate.

Since 2011, numbers have continued to soar from fewer than 20,000, and are set to rise to an estimated 160,000 in 2051.

According to Dementia UK: "Studies have found that African Caribbean people may be more prone to cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes, which are all risk factors for developing vascular dementia.”

The evidence stresses the importance for professionals to understand the cultural needs of sufferers in BAME communities. It calls for action from the systems to recognise the unique set of issues that follow on from a diagnosis.

Specialising in this sector, Dr Julia Botsford said: “Dementia services need to adapt to the growing numbers of people with dementia from BAME groups, who may have specific needs to be addressed.”

With a culture of silence in many ethnic minority communities, more people are likely to be isolated from mainstream services.

By taking the correct steps to understand cultural backgrounds, professionals can be better suited to supporting their needs.

Botsford explained: “A continuing stigma around talking openly about dementia can mean many families struggle without help.

“Services need to reach out and ensure that their support is tailored to individual needs where necessary. This includes taking account of needs based on ethnic background.”

With the right approach in mind, Dementia UK aims to better understand the needs of specific backgrounds by considering cultural nuances as a key part of how their nurses work.

The charity supports its admiral nurses by running culture and ethnicity workshops. Through this innovative approach, it encourages the staff to continually learn and introduce best practice in supporting black, Asian and minority ethnic group needs.

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