Stigma and misconceptions around dementia still exist in all communities up and down the UK, but people within black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities often face particular challenges.
People from BAME communities may be more likely to develop dementia than those from other ethnic backgrounds. This may be due to their higher risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, which are all risk factors for dementia.
Awareness and understanding of dementia in BAME communities is also lower than the UK population as a whole.
For example, our Dementia Attitudes Monitor shows 1 in 3 people (33%) from BAME backgrounds still believes dementia is an inevitable part of getting older, compared to 1 in 5 (22%) across the whole population.
Some South Asian languages don’t have a word for dementia, and this can lead to myths about what causes it.
This is why we have created a campaign called ‘Talk Dementia’ aimed at encouraging more open discussion of dementia in South Asian communities.
Former Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati helped launch the campaign by writing a blog about her experience of caring for her mother, who is living with vascular dementia.
The campaign also features a film in English, Hindi and Urdu where members of a community project for South Asian people in Coventry talk openly about their own experiences of dementia and simple ways people can keep their brain healthy.
You can watch the film here. And please share it on social media, especially if you can help us to reach those people it can help the most.
Shobna said: “There is still a real taboo around dementia, especially in South Asian communities where the condition is often brushed under the carpet. My mum speaks English, Punjabi and Hindi and the confusing words describing dementia across languages only exacerbates out-of-date and unhelpful attitudes towards the condition.
“Dementia is not ‘madness’ and it’s not something to be ashamed of – we are all human beings and dementia is caused by physical diseases.
“I’ve experienced the isolation when communities aren’t able to open up, share experiences and support each other. If we can help people talk about dementia, we create support networks and enable people to find information that can be a real lifeline.”
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