mag. zdravstvene nege (Avstrija)
University of Vienna, Institute of social and cultural anthropology
Migrants’ Aspects in the Austrian Dementia Report and the National Dementia Strategy
Vulnerable groups in society often have less chance for participation because their special needs are only poorly covered. Health care is, therefore, strongly challenged with the inclusion of minorities of any kind. A special topic focuses on health care of migrants with dementia where language and communication in the native-language is a looming problem. In addition, a correct diagnosis of dementia is often delayed because of misinterpretation, missing knowledge or missing language-based examination. This situation results in inappropriate medical treatment, in social isolation or in a burn-out of informal caregivers.
Recently a dementia report and a national dementia strategy 2015 were developed for Austria. In my research I analyze how migrants with dementia are included. The Austrian dementia report covers the topic of migrants with dementia in one subchapter quite insufficiently: Previous local scientific studies as well as the positive results of specific health care solutions for migrants in other European countries stay disregarded. Finally, the report itself creates the myth, that in the case of migrants family members will and want to take care alone for their elders who live with dementia. Based on this incorrect generalization no need for specific health care solutions is determined.
The report itself is not free of contradictions: Overload and stress of family caregivers is indeed known, however, the report advises against specific support for migrants with dementia because it inexplicably predicts that language-based information and possible programmes of support for migrants with dementia will not be accepted by the target group in future. The national dementia strategy finally contains generalized recommendations for stakeholders, a more detailed planning or the elaboration of concrete measures for individual stakeholders is missing. Finally, no budget and no financial allocation is fixed for the strategy. The message of such a strategy is: Help yourself! The policy followed by the Austrian dementia report unfortunately demonstrates how vulnerable groups still stay vulnerable.