Nordic Network on Dementia and Ethnic Minorities

Written by Kariann Krohne

ENIEC-members Reidun Ingebretsen, Elżbieta Czapka, Siiri Jaakson and Kariann Krohne are active in the Nordic Network on Dementia and Ethnic Minorities.
In the Nordic countries, it is estimated that half a million people have dementia or mild cognitive disorder. To ensure quality and knowledge across the neighboring countries, a Nordic Dementia Network is coordinated by the Nordic Welfare Centre on behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
The Nordic Welfare Centre also coordinates three Nordic subnetworks that targets groups that are small in each country alone: Dementia and Ethnic Minorities; Dementia and Indigenous Peoples; and Dementia and Intellectual Disability. The idea behind these subnetworks is that the Nordic countries will gain from standing together and sharing experiences and knowledge on small target groups.
The Network for Dementia and Ethnic Minorities was established in 2012 and today it brings together around 20 researchers and different professions. ENIEC-members Reidun Ingebretsen, Elżbieta Czapka, Siiri Jaakson and former ENIEC-member Ragnhild S. Spilker are network members. ENIEC-member Kariann Krohne has coordinated the network for the last three years.
Up until now, most Nordic countries have had a young migrant population. This is changing rapidly and to secure good person-centered care to an aging migrant population research into the field of dementia and ethnic minorities is needed.
The risk of developing dementia is likely the same for people with a migrant background as for those born in the Nordic region, but fewer older immigrants seek help. This can be due to several factors, such as the fact that dementia, or the symptoms it causes, is interpreted differently in different parts of the world, or that people with migrant backgrounds experience linguistic and cultural barriers in accessing the Nordic healthcare systems.
The network members have broad linguistic and cultural competence, and we focus on research and knowledge dissemination that highlight the target group’s specific needs and possible solutions to joint Nordic challenges. In 2020 we published “The Handbook on Dementia Care to Migrants” in five Nordic languages.

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