SCIE Research briefing 35: Black and minority ethnic people with dementia and their access to support and services

By Jo Moriarty, Nadira Sharif and Julie Robinson

Published: March 2011

Review date: March 2014

This briefing discusses the barriers currently faced by BME people in accessing dementia care services and some of the ways in which services can become better at responding to the needs of BME people in their locality.

Key messages

  • An increase in the number of older black and minority ethnic (BME) people in the UK is likely to lead to an increased need for dementia services.
  • Lower levels of awareness about dementia and the existence of stigma within BME communities help explain why BME people are currently under-represented in dementia services.
  • However, staff can adopt several approaches to improving the uptake of services, such as developing different information resources and appointing workers with responsibility for outreach.
  • Staff working in dementia services would like more training on how to give culturally acceptable care and support to BME people with dementia.
  • Carers of BME people with dementia may feel reluctant to ask for help, although support in the form of carers’ groups and respite services may be appreciated. Different communities may have differing views about whether they wish these services to be culturally specific or mixed.
  • The current UK evidence base on supporting BME people with dementia and their carers is very limited and reliant upon a small number of local studies.

About the development of this research briefing

Scoping and searching

Scoping and searching was carried out in April 2010 with further searching in May and June 2010.

Peer review and testing

Lead author is a topic expert. The briefing was peer reviewed internally for methodology, and externally by an independent topic expert.

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