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Experiences of Carers and People with Dementia from Ethnic Minority Groups Managing Eating and Drinking at Home in the United Kingdom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Pushpa Nair, Yolanda Barrado-Martín, Kanthee Anantapong, Kirsten Moore, Christina Smith, Elizabeth Sampson, Jill Manthorpe, Kate Walters, Nathan Davies

Original languageEnglish
Article number2395
JournalNutrients
Volume14
Issue number12
DOIs
Published1 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: Funding: This research was funded by Marie Curie (grant number: MCRGS-20171219-8004) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Primary Care Research (grant number: 489). PN’s time was funded through her NIHR In-Practice Fellowship (award number: 300286). The APC was funded by UCL. JM is funded by the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce and the NIHR Applied Research Collaborative (ARC), South London. Publisher Copyright: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

King's Authors

Abstract

Eating and drinking difficulties, such as loss of appetite and swallowing problems, are common in dementia, but little is known about the experiences of ethnic minority groups who are managing these difficulties at home. The purpose of our study was to explore the meaning of food, the impact of dementia on eating and drinking, and carers’ experiences of support. We undertook semi-structured interviews with 17 carers and people with dementia from ethnic minority backgrounds living in England, using thematic analysis to analyse the data. Food/drink had strong links to identity, culture and emotions. Providing culturally familiar foods, celebrating traditional festivals and supporting previous food-related roles promoted reminiscence, which encouraged the people living with dementia to eat and drink, as did social interactions, although these could lead to distress in those with more advanced dementia. Food choices were also influenced by carer strain, generational differences and the impact of health conditions. Despite a strong sense of duty to care for relatives at home, there was low awareness of community support services. The carers expressed a need for culturally tailored support for managing dementia-related eating and drinking difficulties at home. Healthcare professionals must provide contextually relevant advice to carers, being mindful of how cultural backgrounds can affect dietary choices.

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