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Support for the Arabic-Muslim community (ISR)


Title/name of initiative: 

Support for the Arabic-Muslim community

Type of initiative:

Support and awareness raising




Islam came to the area of Israel in the 7th century. The Muslims are the largest minority group in Israel today. They mostly live in separate communities (cities, towns, villages).

Muslims see memory problems as part of old age, and accept dementia as a natural part of the ageing process. There is much respect for the elderly in the Muslim community, so if someone has dementia with behavioural problems, they are often hidden from the community to save face.

Members of this community are often diagnosed 4-5 years after the beginning of symptoms and there is little use of medication due to low awareness of the disease. In the Muslim community, older people are often cared for by the family. The daughter, especially if single, cares for her parents, and the oldest son makes the decisions as care-manager. The grandchildren often sleep with the grandparents if the latter need supervision. In the new modern society, women increasingly go to work outside the home and there is more neglect and isolation.

There is little use of nursing homes, but lately more families are employing 24 hour-care, which is often financed by the children. There are day-care centres in the cities and towns.

In recent years there has been an emphasis on training and education for professionals by EMDA (the Alzheimer Society of Israel) and the Ministry of Health in the Muslim community. The goal is to improve medical and social services including evaluation, care and support of the family.

The EMDA Activities for Health kit was translated into Arabic and 4 groups of Arab volunteers were trained to do activities in the homes of people with dementia. It was very difficult to recruit families to participate, because they didn’t want a stranger in their home.

EMDA also set up support groups in different Muslim communities, in which the leaders of the groups are social workers from the Muslim culture and community.

In support groups in small towns there is little sharing of emotions because of the closed traditional community. One of the main goals of EMDA is to teach the main caregiver to ask for help and to care for themselves with an emphasis on the empowerment of the women.

Which ethnic group(s) are covered?

People from the Arabic-Muslim community living in Israel

What is the target audience of the initiative?  

Health and social care professionals, as well as people with dementia and carers



Where or from whom to obtain more information:

The Alzheimer's Association of Israel (EMDA)
 Emanuel Zamir 5, apartment 6
 Zip code 4971028
 Petah Tikva

Telephone: +972-3-5341274




Last Updated: Tuesday 19 February 2019


  • Acknowledgements

    This database received funding from the Robert Bosch Stiftung and under an operating grant from the European Union's health programme (2014-2020)
  • European Union