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Time to tackle dementia in diverse communities

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Time to tackle dementia in diverse communities

Tuesday 2 December 2014

The University of Salford’s Institute for Dementia has found that more needs to be done to support people from diverse communities living with dementia, including Black Minority Ethnic (BME) and deaf people.

It is estimated there are currently 25,000 people with dementia from BME communities in England and Wales and this figure is expected to grow to 50,000 by 2026 and 172,000 by 2051. Certain types of dementia may be more prevalent among BME communities since risk factors, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, may be more common.

Professor Maggie Pearson, Pro Vice Chancellor (Public Benefit) and Dean of the College of Health and Social Care, said: “Although colleagues from the black and minority ethnic communities have been crucial to the establishment and survival of the NHS, since its inception in 1948, the service has been ironically slow to acknowledge, understand and respond to their needs.

“The Salford Institute for Dementia will take this work forward to develop a more robust evidence base about the needs and preferences of people in BME communities who are affected by dementia, but the clear message from our work is that we must develop an agenda for health and social care services, no matter whether in the public, private or third sector.”

A listening event, led by Senior Lecturer in Social Policy, Dr Anya Ahmed, held earlier this year with healthcare professionals, Social Services, caregivers, volunteers, academics, service providers and  people living with dementia,  explored how services can respond to the diverse needs of BME communities while promoting inclusiveness.

The findings and topics points raised at the Listening Event were:

Quoted in the report, Professor Lord Patel of Bradford OBE, Vice President of the Royal Society for Public Health, said: “There is little known about diverse communities and dementia and the work of the Institute for Dementia at the University of Salford is playing a key part in beginning to fill some of the some of these important gaps in knowledge.”

Dr Ahmed is also working in partnership with the Somali Cultural Centre on the Somali Dementia Aware Project in Camden in London, as well as projects looking exploring the needs of diverse communities in Salford and life history in Greater Manchester.