A recent article published in the Frontiers in Psychiatry journal explores the impact of dementia on culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, including the heightened stigma they often face.
The authors, Dr Joyce Siette, Anjani Meka and Josefine Antoniades, review factors contributing to dementia stigma in CALD communities, including cultural beliefs, language barriers, limited awareness, and migration impact. The analysis emphasises the need for culturally tailored interventions involving policymakers, healthcare providers, and CALD community collaboration.
The stigmatisation of dementia, rooted in historical public health stigmas, poses barriers to diagnosis, treatment, and support. In Australia, with a large CALD population, stigma is particularly pronounced, impacting access to healthcare and exacerbating health disparities. Cultural beliefs significantly shape perceptions of dementia, with terminologies in Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese, and Punjabi communities reflecting negative connotations, contributing to shame and avoidance.
Language barriers further hinder understanding and access to support for CALD individuals with dementia. Current evidence suggests a lack of generalisable stigma reduction programs, with initiatives targeting specific groups and limited evaluation methods. The proposed solutions employ a social-ecological model, emphasising intrapersonal, interpersonal, community, organisational, and structural interventions tailored to cultural contexts.
Future directions involve developing culturally relevant stigma measurement tools, improving evaluation methods, and adopting a life course model for comprehensive stigma reduction. The article concludes that addressing dementia stigma in CALD communities requires collaborative efforts, cultural sensitivity, and tailored strategies to foster inclusivity and support for affected individuals and their families.