Dementia and Black, Minority Ethnic Communities

Over the coming months, REF will be organising roadshow events and professional events across England, to raise awareness of the inequalities facing BAME communities across the Dementia Pathway and what organisations, communities and families can do.

Black and minority ethnic people experience a number of inequalities related to dementia. This ranges from particular ethnic communities having a higher risk of developing dementia, to more general difficulties for all black, Asian and minority ethnic communities in accessing appropriate care and support.

These inequalities vary across communities. African Caribbean and some South and East Asian communities have greater risk of developing dementia at an early age. Both African Caribbean and South Asian communities have a higher prevalence of dementia than the White British community. The experience of migration for those born outside the UK generally includes higher rates of poverty and discrimination (Pemberton, S., Phillimore, J., Robinson, D., 2014). People who migrated from countries with lower life expectancy are less likely to have known someone with the condition, which means they are often facing these issues for the first time.

The Irish and Jewish communities in the UK both have a higher life expectancy and age on average, meaning a higher prevalence of dementia. They also often share the experiences of migration and discrimination. Gypsy and Traveller communities can experience extreme barriers to accessing services, and there is evidence to suggest they too develop dementia at an early age.

In October 2016, a roundtable organised by PHE, the Race Equality Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Society agreed to set up a taskforce to commit capacity and act to reducing inequalities in Dementia for BAME communities

The Race Equality Foundation with Faith Action and Friends, Families and Travellers, as member of the Health and Wellbeing Alliance, have been commissioned to help take forward the taskforce. This project will have five streams of work

  1. Co-ordinate system-wide partnership, bringing together people working on dementia in black and minority ethnic communities.
  2. Develop evidence-based tailored resources targeted at those addressing ethnic inequalities across the dementia pathway.
  3. Three events across England to raise awareness of inequality issues targeted at professionals.
  4. Six dementia road shows aimed at the black and minority ethnic community to raise awareness of dementia, how risk reduction can be implemented and how dementia care can be accessed.
  5. Stimulate research in this area, including influencing an increase in the research funding.


To deliver change we are working a range of individuals and organisations and adding others to the partnership.  Organisations already involved include DACE, BME Health and Wellbeing, Irish in Britain, Meri Yadaain, Chinese Wellbeing, Nubian Life, the BME Health Forum and the Alzheimer’s Society as well as fellow Health and Wellbeing Alliance members.

Find out more about dementia and black and minority ethnic communities.

Receive news by email.

Let us know about actions you are taking.