Bangladeshis feel increased burden to care for family with dementia than white British people

New research into the impacts of caring for loved ones with dementia shows that caregivers with a Bangladeshi heritage feel an increased burden to care for loved ones compared to their white British counterparts. 

The research, published in The American Journal of Family Therapy by Keele University’s Dr Muhammad Hossain, analysed the effects of caregiving on Bangladeshi caregivers and sought to understand their experiences in order to address challenges and unmet support needs. 

According to a study by Carers UK, Bangladeshi caregivers are three times more likely to provide family care compared with their white British counterparts. There has, however, been little research on Bangladeshi people with dementia and their caregivers’ understanding and management of dementia. 

The study, which involved interviewing Bangladeshi carers, found that the majority of caregivers lived with the family member with dementia and provided care for them in the family member’s own home. They said that they felt physical, psychological, social, and financial impacts of providing care with the impact increasing as the dementia sufferer’s condition deteriorated.

The burden felt by carers varied according to factors such as their age, gender, and marital status. In particular, caregivers with a low socioeconomic status and no caregiving assistance from others are more likely to feel burdened. 

The study highlights the importance of healthcare providers recognising the roles that ethnic, cultural, and religious identities can have in perception of dementia and how that can affect caregivers in coping with the caring burden.

The provision of religiously appropriate services may increase positive feelings among caregivers about sending their relatives to a care home or a day-care centre, resulting in less strain on caregivers as a result of their caregiving roles. 

Dr Hossain said: “The results of the current research have important implications for any health and social care service providers working with black, Asian and minority ethnic people with dementia and their family carers. While gender-based caregiving interferes with Islamic religious ideologies, further research will benefit from investigating how Bangladeshi Muslims’ religious values influence experiences of caring for a person with dementia and how their religious beliefs affect their access to and experience of dementia care services.”