BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) Community and Dementia

If you are from a black or ethnic minority group and are worried about dementia you share the same health concerns as the general population of East Dunbartonshire.   Dementia affects everyone in society, irrespective of gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.   The information in this website is relevant to you and  it is important to speak to your GP if you have any Health Concerns.  The number of BME people with dementia in Scotland is increasing in line with the general trend of people living longer, so services need to pay attention to the cultural wishes of this group of people and their Carers, Family and Friends.  There also needs to be an understanding  that there is not one homogenous BME community but many different ‘communities.’  For further information contact the East Dunbartonshire Dementia Network.

Issues Specific to the BME Community

  • Lower levels of awareness about dementia as a disease, there is no word for dementia in any of the main five South Asian languages
  • Stigma and pride (feeling ashamed to ask for help outside the family and close-knit community)
  • Some older people live alone and may be socially and financially isolated
  • Carers may be reluctant to ask for help and their needs may go unrecognised
  • Some dementias in younger people (under 65) are more frequent among BME communities eg. Irish and Gypsy-Traveller communities
  • Older people may not speak English or their ability to speak English as a second language can decrease or become confused
  • There may be limited cultural sensitivity amongst professionals eg. medication could be taken intravenously during fasting for Ramadan
  • There may be a lack of written information on dementia in diverse languages and at times information may need to be delivered verbally due to an inability to read information in English

Further Reading

Healthy Diet and Lifestyle for Ethnic Minority Older People from Equality Scotland. This publication is also available in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu, please see here.

The Alzheimer Society have produced this guide for anyone who has recently been told they have dementia, The Dementia Guide in Other Languages and it is available in the following languages Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, Urdu, Traditional Chinese and Welsh.