Dementia-friendly Hackney marks Black History Month

Cllr Feryal Clark, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care, Leisure and Parks, on the plans by Dementia-Friendly Hackney to mark Black History Month.

Cllr Feryal Clark Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for health, social care, leisure and parks
Each year the number of people from BAME communities diagnosed with dementia rises, as the over-65 population, across the UK and in Hackney, becomes more and more diverse. 

This brings unique challenges. Local data is limited, but we know that nationally people living with dementia from BAME communities are likely to present to services later, at a time when their symptoms are more severe; to experience support which fails to acknowledge cultural differences; and to experience stigma surrounding dementia specific to certain communities. 

With Hackney being such a diverse borough, I am keen to ensure we improve access to all of our services for different communities.  I will also ensure the Council works with all of our partner organisations to better target services for local BAME residents living with dementia, as part of the ongoing work to make Hackney truly Dementia-Friendly.

As someone experiences their dementia, it is essential that we think about the person behind the diagnosis, as well as their spiritual, cultural and communication needs. Everyone has a story to share.  Across the borough you may have seen the Dementia-Friendly Hackney Black History Month posters which feature four of our residents: Veronica, Charles, Beverly and Gordon. 

They are all living with dementia and have unique and rich life stories to share. Over the next month Alzheimer’s Society will be sharing these stories on their national blog, which you can follow here. 

They want to show the person behind the diagnosis, whilst celebrating some local black history as they trace how each came to be in Hackney. 

Each also has a message on how they want others to support them in the community, asking others to be kind, patient and above all, to treat them as unique human beings. 

Dementia-Friendly Hackney is celebrating Black History Month by raising awareness of these issues and by celebrating the life histories of some of our black residents living with dementia. 

Dementia-Friendly Hackney is a community group, coordinated by a Hackney ‘Dementia-Friendly Communities Coordinator’; a role funded by the London Borough of Hackney. It is working to make the borough of Hackney a more accessible and inclusive community for everybody affected by dementia.

On Wednesday 30 October from 2.30 to 4.30pm, a Dementia, culture and ethnicity seminar will be held at Homerton Hospital, exploring the issues arising from the intersectionality of dementia, culture and ethnicity. This has been organised by our Dementia-Friendly Communities Coordinator in collaboration with Dementia Alliance and its partners: City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group, (CCG), London Borough of Hackney Adult Services, Homerton University Hospital NHS Trust and Hackney Caribbean Elderly Organisation. 

I will be speaking at this seminar alongside health and social care professionals from across the borough and the local NHS, hearing the experiences of people personally affected by dementia.

To book a place please contact Harry Johnson, Dementia-Friendly Communities Coordinator by emailing: harry.johnson@alzheimers.org.uk 

Black History Month only takes place once a year, but we need to look ahead and this should be an ongoing conversation.

We’ll be talking to some of our partners and looking internally, asking how we can better support individuals living with dementia from BAME communities. 

City and Hackney CCG, through the Dementia Alliance has commissioned Hackney Carribean Elderly Organisation to deliver a dementia outreach project focusing on BAME communities. 

We will be following the progress and findings of this project closely through the Dementia Alliance Board.
Cllr Feryal Clark Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for health, social care, leisure and parks