Dementia awareness was top of the agenda at a meeting of an international community in Sunderland.
The Memory Lane Sunderland BM Dementia Project was launched at the Sunderland Bangladesh International Centre, in Tatham Street.
Dementia is often unrecognised and undiagnosed, particularly in BME groupsMartin Booth, business development officer at the Sunderland Bangladesh International Centre
About 40 people from the city’s black and minority ethnic (BME) community attended, with the aim of spreading information about the symptoms of dementia, and how sufferers can be helped.
Martin Booth, business development officer at the centre, said: “There has been a lot of national research to show that although dementia is a growing problem, it is often unrecognised and undiagnosed, particularly in BME groups.
“We conducted research in Sunderland with a questionnaire, which we gave to about 120 people from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. The answers showed that the levels of understanding and knowledge about dementia were very low.
“There was also information from local GPs that there are very low numbers from BME groups being diagnosed with dementia. There is a perception that dementia is just a part of getting older, but we’d like to work with people from the BME groups to get the message across that it can be treated and is not something to be ashamed of.”
Drop-in sessions will be held for sufferers, their families and carers. The project is in partnership with the Sunderland Carers’ Centre, Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society and University of Sunderland.