South Asian people with dementia
Alison M. Bowes and Heather Wilkinson
For South Asian people, dementia has been characterised as a 'hidden problem' (Brownlie 1991). Dementia is a condition without a name in many South Asian languages, and an experience that is seldom brought into public view. Yet in the coming years, as the UK South Asian population ages, more people will experience dementia, and will have need for understanding of the condition, as well as for support from services for themselves, their families and their carers. Currently, mainstream (i.e. non-minority) services are widely documented as being extremely limited in their ability to respond to South Asian people with dementia (Anderson and Brownlie 1997 give a number of examples). Specialist services are few, and tend to be project-based, time-limited by funding constraints, and to command limited resources.
In this chapter, we explore existing knowledge about South Asian people with dementia, with particular reference to their needs for and use of services. Having established the contributions and limitations of this existing knowledge, we go on to identify the potential for increasing this knowledge base through research, and some of the issues that face researchers doing work in this area. In the process, we draw on our records of research with South Asian older people and with people with dementia, suggesting ways of addressing the many difficult issues which research