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Key points

Professional and informal carers


  • It is important to consider the rights and wellbeing of the people, from all ethnic groups, who provide dementia care and support.
  • Language difficulties can affect the wellbeing of professional carers, leading to frustration and ethical concerns, also limiting the quality of care and support that they would like to provide.
  • Procedural, organisational and economic constraints, as well as lack of training, may limit the ability of professional carers to provide good quality intercultural care and support.
  • Professional carers are sometimes faced with ethical dilemmas which arise from cultural differences and misunderstandings.
  • Carers from minority ethnic groups, especially from the younger generation, may find themselves in an awkward position, caught between the demands and expectations of two different cultures.
  • Because of cultural traditions or religious duty, some female carers may find it difficult to discuss problems coping and to seek support. Doing so could be perceived as a refusal or failure to accomplish their religious duty or lack of respect for elders, which could, in turn, be considered as bringing shame on the family. 
  • Stereotypes about people from minority ethnic groups ‘looking after their own’ and having extended family networks of support sometimes result in services not being offered.
  • Migrant carers may have care responsibilities in their country of origin. As reflected in the ‘global care chain concept’, the need for care in one part of the world may create a care shortage elsewhere.
  • Language difficulties and lack of recognition of non-European training and qualifications may result in migrant carers having to accept care positions for which they are over-qualified.
  • Professional carers from minority ethnic groups are sometimes given sole or main responsibility for clients from a range of minority ethnic groups. In some cases, this might reflect ethnic stereotyping and limit a person’s opportunities choice and development within the profession.
  • Stereotypes linked to perceptions of race and ethnicity continue to have an impact on employment opportunities, favouring some employment candidates at the expense of others.
  • Migrants’ perceptions of dementia and dementia care sometimes differ to those of the people they are caring for and may have an impact on the care they provide but also on their own self-esteem.
  • The concept of the live-in carer is relatively new. It involves a person living in the home of another who is in need of care, and providing that care more or less round the clock.
  • There is a disproportionately high number of people from minority ethnic groups employed as live-in carers, most of whom are considered as migrants, sometimes having no stable residency rights.
  • Very few countries have regulated the situation of live-in carers. Consequently, live-in carers are usually vulnerable to exploitation and abuse of various kinds. Equally, there is little protection for the potential abuse of clients and their families.



Last Updated: Monday 08 April 2019


  • Acknowledgements

    This report received funding under an operating grant from the European Union’s Health Programme (2014-2020) and from the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The content of the report represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility; it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission and/or the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission and the Agency do not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains
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