Communities

DSDC has been working with communities for over 25 years to improve the lives of people with dementia

They took the time to get to know us and the things we saw in the way of doing what we wanted. They then got the balance right between challenging us and providing real support when it was needed. This went well beyond just being about dementia.
BME Community Leader
London

Changing Communities

Our aim has always been to help communities achieve the changes they can realistically achieve over time.  We actively support sustainable community change which takes its energy from commitments made by local people to contribute to improving the lives of people with dementia within their communities.

DSDC’s Role

DSDC is currently working with different communities across the UK in many different ways. In each case we are able to provide clear, evidence-based advice, support and facilitation in whatever way best supports local thinking and doing.  We can call on specialist knowledge and experience of what works, not just in terms of dementia, but also on capacity development, social movements and sustainable change.

As an independent body we advocate for what we call “real dementia-friendly communities”.  This reflects our concern that the current enthusiasm for making rapid progress on all things “dementia-friendly” runs the risk of underestimating the challenges involved in securing the community capacity and understanding which are truly necessary to transform the lives of people with dementia.

DSDC can provide a full range of hard and soft support to help local communities work through what they feel can be realistically achieved over time.  Some of this can be immediate and high-impact.  Other change may take longer if it is to last. 

Supporting BME families and communities

There are some difficulties and barriers faced by BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) carers of people with dementia, consider the following;

  • Family and community expectations, stigma towards dementia sometimes regarded as a mental condition means that carers feel they do not want to bring shame onto the family by admitting someone in the family is suffering from a mental condition.
  • Religious expectations of duty to care, carers feel that their faith places responsibility to care for the person with dementia. Even when carers recognise that services exist to support them there may be outside pressures from the community which means they do not access the support as doing  would mean they were struggling to carry out their duty and obligation to look after the elderly.
  • BME carers of people with dementia may feel that there is little or no cultural understanding or competency by practitioners to offer the most appropriate care and a ‘one size fits all’ approach is used.

In order to effectively support the BME community to access dementia services it is important for practitioners and assessors to know more about the family and the role of the different genders within a household.
 
Dementia services need to promote what they offer and give information to support BME carers and communities rather than waiting to be contacted by potential service users.
 
Above all dementia service providers need to give BME carers an opportunity to express their fears and concerns. Help and support for family and carers should meet their needs and not what the service providers think they need. 


Dementia Overview PDF - translations available

We also have a helpful Dementia overview available in PDF, in the following languages (please see below).