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Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities and Dementia – where are we now?

Dementia is recognised as a worldwide health priority but research on dementia in general is poorly funded. Little is known about its relative prevalence in black and minority ethnic populations, although there is a growing body of evidence that the Black African-Caribbean community in the UK has a higher prevalence of vascular dementia than other communities.

Although the National Dementia Strategy provides strong policy recommendations, there is a need to ensure that these are implemented appropriately, and take into account the information and support needs of black and minority ethnic communities. Prevalence of dementia in some communities in the UK has been significantly underestimated.

Dementia is misunderstood and highly stigmatised in many UK black and minority ethnic communities. There are organisations that have developed good practice in working with black and minority ethnic communities, but there needs to be a more developed structure to share the learning from good practice. There should be a vision of a culturally appropriate approach to the dementia pathway that starts from raising awareness, leads to facilitating early diagnosis and lasts into appropriate end-of-life care An economic case could be developed for financing improvements in ‘living well’ with dementia for people in black and minority ethnic communities, with targeted awareness raising and improvements in community based support.