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The numbers (and proportions) of older people from black and minority ethnic communities have risen rapidly, from 60,000 in 1981 to over 350,000 in 2001. Although the numbers have grown from being quite small, this is not a new area of research.
The impact of ageing (in terms of health and support needs) happens at a comparatively younger age among many minority communities.
Black and minority ethnic older people are more likely to face a greater level of poverty, live in poorer quality housing, and have poorer access to benefits and pensions than 'white' older people.
Myths about minority ethnic communities need challenging: there is not necessarily an extended family which "looks after its own".
Older people from different communities may share experiences of ageism and racism, but the circumstances of Chinese, Afro-Caribbean or Asian older people may require different approaches and solutions.
“ minority ethnic communities found that older people often felt they had been "researched to death" over the past 15 years. The research highlighted the need to move beyond traditional research issues and move into ways about bring change in practice.”
The Policy Research Institute on Ageing and Ethnicity (PRIAE) Naina Patel OBE Professor of Ageing and Ethnicity
An NGO dedicated to improving the quality of life of black and minority ethnic (BME) elders in the UK and in Europe. PRIAE specialises in Income; Health, Social Care and Housing; Quality of Life and Citizenship through Policy, Information, Research Service Developments, Training and Consultancy.
It is more than a 'think tank, PRIAE created and manages the 'Minority Elderly Care' (MEC) project - the largest research project in the area in Europe, working in 10 European countries and funded under the EEC 5th Framework Research Programme.