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Health Soc Care Community. 2003 Sep;11(5):387-96.

'We didn't know it would get that bad': South Asian experiences of dementia and the service response.

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  • 1Department of Applied Social Science, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK. a.m.bowes@stir.ac.uk

Abstract

The aim of the present paper was to examine some views and experiences of dementia among older South Asian people, as well as their families and carers, and to explore central issues of service support. Data were collected in Scotland through interviews with 11 professionals working with South Asian people with dementia, and four case studies of South Asian people with a diagnosis of dementia, as well as their families and carers. The case studies demonstrated overwhelmingly negative experiences of dementia, with poor quality of life, desperate needs for support, lack of access to appropriate services, little knowledge of dementia, and isolation from community and family life. The interviews with professionals described a strong demand for services, a need to develop awareness and knowledge about dementia in South Asian communities, and a need to promote more culturally sensitive, individually responsive services. Similarities between South Asian people and the non-South Asian population include stress on carers, increasing isolation, problematic diagnostic practices, lack of knowledge and demand for service support. Differences include limited use of non-National Health Service (NHS) support, dealing with later stages of dementia at home, particularly negative views about residential care, culturally based attitudinal differences and use of the term 'dementia' in English as neutral rather than stigmatising. The present authors suggest that there is little knowledge and experience of dementia in South Asian communities, as well as restricted access to appropriate services, despite the efforts of voluntary sector and NHS special projects. There is demand for services, especially at home. Services need to develop individual responsiveness for effective working in a diverse society.

PMID:
14498835
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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