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Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing

Asian men sitting in the park

Recognition of symptoms of dementia in South Asian elders

South Asian voices enabling dementia care (SAVED)

South Asian elders with memory problems often do not access health and social services for memory problems. As a consequence, dementia and depression among SA elders remains under-diagnosed and under-treated. The specific Explanatory Models (EMs) used by SA elders to understand and describe memory problems remain under-researched.

Research aims

The project seeks to improve understanding of the factors that determine the recognition of and consultation for memory problems among South Asian older people. It also aims to explore and understand the EMs for memory problems prevalent within South Asian communities in the UK.

The research will question:

  • Why South Asian elders often fail to seek help from health and social services for memory problems?
  • What are the common explanations (explanatory models) used by them to understand and describe memory problems and their causes and consequences? (face-to-face interviews with South Asian elders).
  • Do these explanations differ between ethnic subgroups, those with and without memory problems, and those who do and do not access services for memory problems?
  • Are these explanations for memory problems shared by middle aged South Asian people who are often the gatekeepers of access to services for the current cohort of South Asian elders and who themselves will form the next cohort of South Asian elders?


The dissemination of the research findings may help to improve equity of access to local services for South Asian elders. They could also improve practitioners’ cultural competence; and consequently the diagnosis and access to treatment of dementia and depression among South Asian elders. The findings could be used to develop educational aids for the NHS.

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