The Immigrant Memory Collaborative (IMC) recently launched a booklet detailing the results of their study on Dementia within African Immigrant Communities. IMC is a partnership between ACER (African Career, Education, and Resouces Inc.) and researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.
The community-responsive partnership between ACER and the Families and Long-Term Care Projects (FLTC) of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health enables an understanding of the lived experiences and extent of dementia care needs and resources among African immigrants in the Twin Cities. The African immigrant community in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area is growing rapidly, and yet the dementia care needs and resources of this community remain largely unknown. The goal of this project is to provide information on current dementia knowledge, caregiving practices, and healthcare utilization which will inform the development of culturally tailored community-level health promotion efforts to enhance dementia knowledge, education, and healthcare services.
Study Result Summary:
The results of the project reveal that there is limited dementia knowledge within the African Immigrant Community. Many factors impact dementia knowledge such as preferences to avoid bad news, secretiveness, and spiritual beliefs.
Many people are unaware of the signs of dementia. Besides typical symptoms like memory loss, disorientation, and speaking difficulties, dementia also presents as changes in mood and behavior, difficultly makings decisions, personality changes, and even loss of interest in formally loved activities and hobbies.
Additional research examined caregivers of those with dementia. The study found that caregivers were often emotionally and physically exhausted. Signs of caregiver burnout included: extreme exhaustion, being quick to anger, forgetfulness, anxiety, and depression.