Cultural and linguistic diversity in dementia education is the focus of a University of Tasmania study aimed at further broadening dementia education in the community.
People from migrant communities who are living with dementia, and their carers, are needed to participate in the research being carried out by the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre in a Tasmanian research study.
Wicking Centre lecturer Dr Sunny Jang, who was inspired to look further into the need for more cultural and linguistic diversity in dementia education from her own multicultural background, said there were many similarities but also great differences in how different communities approached dementia.
“Due to a strong stigma associated with dementia in some migrant communities, people with dementia don’t have a strong voice and it is often culturally difficult for a community to accept dementia as a medical term, so there is a lot of misunderstanding,” she said.
“In some cultures, younger females are also vulnerable, because it’s part of their inherited duty and responsibility to look after family members living with dementia which can stop them looking for jobs, completing their education and from social interaction.
“It can also be difficult for people from migrant communities to access dementia education because of language barriers.”
The project, which is also being supported by the Migrant Resource Centre in Hobart, still needs more participants.
“We have just started recruitment and have some carers on board but are still looking for people with dementia from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds,” Dr Jang said.
“It’s very important to hear the authentic voice of people living with dementia and for them to be given the opportunity to speak out and share their experiences so that the society can make sure quality care is available to them.”
Dr. Jang said she considered the project a great opportunity to share this important aspect of dementia education with the community.
“I’ve been exposed to different communities for the past 20 years and the stigma and challenges are different but also commonly shared – but very different from Australian culture,” she said.
“I’m doing this research with great passion and trying to circulate it to as many people from diverse backgrounds to let them know dementia can be a common topic for daily conversation and communications – it’s not something they need to hide and its okay to ask for help.”
Around 10 volunteers are required to share their experiences for the pilot study.
Participant’s stories will be ultimately developed as educational resources and case studies, with the results being shared through community workshops.
For more information or to be part of the project email: Sun.Jang@utas.edu.au