ACCORDING TO The Alzheimer’s Society, there are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK. It predicts a million people will be living with dementia and that this figure will rise to 1.7m by 2051.
The BAME community accounts for 3 percent of dementia, around 25,000 people, with the number expected to double to 50,000 by 2026. Writer Aden Eyob looks at the subject from a personal point of view…
Hello, the voice of a distant murmur of my grandmother. It has been years since we last talked. I could hear her struggling to recall who I was. It’s me, grandma; it is your granddaughter, Aden.
A long pause that felt millennia; In the space of distance, I could feel my grandmother’s confusion.
I knew better than to aggravate her symptoms of dementia. I knew better, but it didn’t take away the sting. The loss of shared memories. The loss of connection. The loss of identity.
Although dementia may have come for my grandmother’s memories, it never took away her power to overcome.
In the silence of our conversation, I could hear her stringing along with dialogue in a willful attempt to connect. After some time had passed, as though a flash of light had shone on her, she began to recall fragments of our past together.
The faces of dementia are many but are characteristic of a set of symptoms that range from memory loss, mood changes, and problems with communication, reasoning, and or language. The most common types of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
Dementia in the BAME community is often overlooked and underserved due to the lack of understanding of the term, especially in the South Asian community where there is no existing language. Other causes include stigma, lack of awareness, access to culturally appropriate services, and fear of seeking support.
Coupled with the limited understanding of dementia, early detection and prevention in people from BAME communities are under-represented in services and often diagnosed at a later stage of illness, if at all.
It is time for mainstream dementia services and BAME community groups to engage the community to; better understand the need and how it will fulfill.
In so doing, create opportunities to deliver high-quality, culturally tailored, person-centred services that act as the gateway for education, training, and access.
With no treatment currently available to cure dementia or alter its course, early detection and management have to be the cornerstone for improving the lives of BAME people with dementia and their carers and families.
Healthcare professionals have increasingly been moving away from a task-based, professional-led healthcare model towards a more holistic framework that focuses on the person’s perspectives and their subjectively defined experiences and needs.
This shift has been described most often as a move towards person-centered care (PCC).
PCC arose in response to a failing model of care that limited dementia to a strictly biomedical phenomenon; it was task-oriented; relied on control approaches such as chemical and physical restraints, warehousing, and unnecessary medication devalued the agency and individuality of persons with dementia.
In contrast, PCC is value-driven, focuses on the patient’s independence, holistic well-being, and enables them to feel supported, valued, and socially confident.
Mindset training approaches, such as developing positive daily habits and identity-based affirmations, are paramount for holistic PCC dementia care.
Through the cultivation of clear thought and elevated emotions, it affords persons with dementia to have congruency in their mind-body-spirit connection, thereby bypassing their disease limitations to lead an empowered and fulfilling life.
Aden Eyob is the clinical neuroscientist and author of the book, The Book on Mind Training: The Secret for Positive Living. Aden is also the founder and CEO of Mind Medication Limited, a fusion of neuroscience-psychology and spirituality-based mindset coaching and speaker service that helps organisations uncover their why unlock potential; and free limiting beliefs to achieve the impossible.