About ETNIMU

 

ETNIMU-activity has come to an end.

ETNIMU-activity thank all partners, memory interpreters and the seniors from ethnic minorities for their cooperation.Without your help and support, we would not have been able to do this work. 

Siiri Jaakson, Nina Pellosniemi, Urve Jaakkola

 

ETNIMU-activity has been operating since 2015

We are the only activity in Finland that supports social and health care proffessionals by raising awareness of cultural sensitive memory work

We also raise the awareness of the elderly from ethnic minorities, about brain health, memory disorders and dementia

 

Fallow ETNIMU on Facebook

ETNIMU-activity

 

The aim of ETNIMU activities is to secure that people from ethnic minority backgrounds with dementia get timely and accurate diagnosis.

The MMSE is the memory test most commonly used with people from ethnic minority backgrounds in Finland. The test is well suited to the native populations, but it falls short when used to map the situations of people from diverse ethnic minority backgrounds. To get the necessary information, the test needs to screen also for background information f.ex. about a person's daily life, skills and social activities. Difficulties in language and insufficient understanding of the cultural specificities pose the biggest challenges to mapping. The social and health care professionals would benefit of an interpreter who can help them perceive the client’s possible memory problems and provide them assistance in memory test situations.

The pilot group of the Memory Interpreter training program has 17 participants of Estonian, Russian, Arabic, Chinese and Roma backgrounds. All participants are volunteers. The training program consists of a theory part that covers f.ex. general information about dementia, interpreting skills, confidentiality and GDPR. The training is completed by a practical session at a Memory Clinic. After completing the training, the memory interpreters act independently as interpreters in memory test situations and help the social and health care professional in their interactions with clients from different ethnic minority backgrounds.

ETNIMU activities have developed a unique training program in Finland that supports culturally sensitive memory work in co-operation with memory clinics, universities, as well as experts working in various fields. The Memory Interpreter training program and the working tools can be adapted to work with different language and cultural backgrounds and so help to secure timely and accurate diagnosis of dementia.

 

Siiri Jaakson

 

Cultural-sensitive Memory Work in Finland

 

Pilots on Finnish memory work with ethnic minorities started in 2003 as a part of the IkäMAMU-activities of the Finnish Association for the Welfare of Older People. IkäMAMU mapped the situation of brain health among the Russian and Estonian-speaking residents of Helsinki. IkäMamu-activities also applied existing memory materials to work with the
Russian-speaking elderly with memory disorders and their family members. In 2004 services began for the Estonian and Russian-speaking customers at Kamppi service
centre in Helsinki, where the Memory Clinic of the Helsinki Alzheimer’s Association operated. The memory clinic screened for memory impairments through assessment tests. Then, for the first time, a care pathway was created for the Estonian and the Russian-speaking elderly and their family members with social and health care professionals. At the time also a peer support group for Russian-speaking carers for elderly with memory disorders was started.
The IkäMAMU-project was ended in year 2005, and since then also the Memory Clinic of the Helsinki Alzheimer’s Association has stopped its services. Need for memory services in different languages, however, has not gone away – rather the opposite. Based on the feedback from different ethnic minority groups, the elderly would need and want to improve their brain health and gain more information about memory disorders in their native languages.

In order to meet such needs, Improving the Brain Health of Ethnic Minority Elderly, ETNIMUproject [Etnistaustaisten ikääntyvien ihmisten aivoterveyden edistäminen] was started. In addition to the Estonian and Russian-speaking groups, that had already existed, new target groups included older Somali women and the Roma people.

 

ETNIMU project 2015-2017

 

The deterioration of brain health and memory disorders can affect us all regardless of our language, culture or nationality. In Finland social and health services are equal for all. Nonetheless, not everyone in need of services can access them or find the kind of services that would meet their needs.

Finland has a population of approximately 5.5 million. 200 000 people are living with mild cognitive impairment and 193 000 with progressive memory disorders (Viramo & Sulkava 2015, 35). According to Statistics Finland, there are approximately 310 000 foreign-language speakers in Finland (Tilastokeskus, 2017). Memory disorders are as recurrent among this population as they are among the ethnic Finns. With prevalence rates adjusted to those of the ethnic Finns, this means that there are 11 200 foreignlanguage speakers living with mild cognitive impairment and 10 900 foreign-language speakers with progressive memory disorders. These people form a patient group who is easily left out of services, for example, because of their insufficient Finnish language skills. Their brain health, nevertheless, should be taken care of as well. When the babyboomers reach elderhood and the total number of the elderly increases, this question will become more pertinent.

 

Whether an ethnic Finn or a minority ethnic person, memory disorders proceed the same. Their treatment is in many ways the same. We need to highlight the issues that we should take into consideration when we meet an ethnic minority elderly person with memory problems. 

 The most important issue is to remember that there is a human being behind her memory problems or memory disorder: this person has his/ her culture, personality and wishes that should be taken into consideration.

Such an approach, which respects the person’s background and needs, is what we call a cultural sensitivity as a way of work.

 

 

The Society for Memory Disorders Expertise in Finland’s ETNIMU-project was a development project that took place from 2015 until 2017with the support of Veikkaus Oy. It sought to increase information about brain health among ethnic minority elderly. The project created materials about brain health, memory and memory disorders in the native languages of the project’s participant groups: Finnish, Estonian, Russian, Somali and Roma People. The project also aimed to strengthen the cultural-sensitive skills of social and health care professionals and students.

 

Cultural Sensitivity in Memory Work: Experiences from Finland

This guide discusses the theories and action models behind ETNIMU-project, and reflects upon them in the light of ETNIMU’s aims, procedures and results. It seeks to support, among others, the work of social and health care professionals and anyone who may be working with ethnic minority elderly and the topic of memory. This guide represents the core observations of ETNIMU-project.

 

Cultural sensitive approach

In ETNIMU-project, cultural sensitivity as a way of work was built upon the notion of acknowledging each individual’s background and specific needs.
The approach consisted of three steps: 1) reach out to the ethnic minority elderly, 2) engage with the elderly, and 3) build a relationship based on trust.
In order for us to engage and to build trust with the ethnic minority elderly groups, we first had to find them and reach out to them. Cultural-sensitivity was, furthermore, supported by constant auto-reflection of our own work.

 

The Memory Interpreter training program

 

This training program is intended for members with different linguistic and cultural minorities, who are living in Finland and speaking fluent Finnish.

The Memory Interpreter training program includes theory parts, like memory disorders and dementia, memory tests and interpreting activities

 

 

 

The Memory Interpreter training program and the developed working methods can be adapted to all people with different language and cultural background.

This can help to secure timely and accurate diagnosis of dementia.

 

ETNIMU materials

 

ETNIMU activity’s core deliverables:

 

Material for Memory interpreters:

 

A guide for Memory interpreters (in Finnish)

 

Cultural Sensitivity in Memory Work: Experiences from Finland

This guide discusses the theories and action models behind ETNIMU-project, and reflects upon them in the light of ETNIMU’s aims, procedures and results. It seeks to support, among others, the work of social and health care professionals and anyone who may be working with ethnic minority elderly and the topic of memory. This guide represents the core observations of ETNIMU-project.

Cultural Sensitivity in Memory Work: Experiences from Finland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The personal experience of the Finnish Russian speaker on the informal care for the relative. Video

In the video a Russian-speaking woman, who is also the informal carer for her mother with dementia, tells about her experiences in Finland. ETNIMU project 2015-2017. You can watch this interview on the ETNIMU YouTube channel.

The personal experience of the Finnish Russian speaker on the informal care for the relative

 

 

Exercises to Activate the Brain 1

The exercise booklet contains 22 coordination and concentration activities that seek to improve brain health, by working both the brain and different muscle groups together. The exercises begin easy, but gain more difficulty as you progress. The difficulty level can be increased by directing the movements towards different directions, or by including different body parts to the movements, e.g. by combining arms with leg movements.

Exercises can be conducted sitting down or standing up.

Exercises to Activate the Brain 1.

 

 Exercises to Activate the Brain 2

The exercise booklet contains 26 solving puzzles that activate the brain. The exercises suit well to leading groups and they can be used to lead discussions about different topics, work out word puzzles, or do activities by hands (e.g. colouring), or simply to add new types of activities to the group.

 

Exercises to Activate the Brain 2.

 

Improving Brain Health!

The guide covers the essential topics about memory in a clear and easy-to-understand way. The guide is based on the course meetings that were designed and delivered
through ETNIMU-project in 2015 and 2016.

Improving Brain Health!

 

The set of the three guides constitutes a tool that can be used by group leaders to direct activities about brain health. The guide and the exercise booklets are targeted primarily at people who are leading groups of ethnic minority elderly, but they can be used to direct all kinds of groups with an interest in improving brain health. The guides have been designed to minimize culture-bound contents.

 


The set of the three guides have been published in Finnish, Estonian, Russian, Somali and English.

 

Exercises to Activate the Brain 1 and 2, and Improving Brain Health!

 

They have been designed to be used as a set that forms a well-rounded package of easy-to-understand theory and contains motoric and cognitive exercises.

 

The set of the three guides can also be used to lead activities with groups of elderly people of different ethnic backgrounds, since the materials have produced so that they include as little culture-bound information as possible.

 

 

Articles, Statements

 

ETNIMU Statement for Advancing the Memory Screenings of Ethnic Minority Elderly Persons

 

 

Prevalence of the dementia is rising amongst older persons with ethnic background. There are different kind of risk factors such as social isolation and weakening cognitive abilities.

Memory screenings are affected by cultural and linguistic challenges, as well as difficulties with communication and interpretation. One important topic raised by the panelists was the health literacy amongst older persons with ethnic background.

 

 

You can follow the event via stream https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6ePaYJwL0E

Read Suomen muistiasiantuntijat ry:n, ETNIMU-toiminnan statement here

 

Roma People as a target group in the brain health promotion project ETNIMU in Finland

 

 

 

 

The Roma people in ETNIMU project

 

There were approximately 20 Roma people participating in our project, and the average age was 80-90 years.

From the beginning, cultural sensitivity was a cornerstone of our work in the project. By ‘doing together’ we slowly increased the trust between the group and the ETNIMU staff.

By asking silly questions and being open-minded we succeeded in this. For example, as a great sign of trust the Roma women showed their ankles while playing with balloons during our activities, although this is usually forbidden. Unfortunately, this connection can be easily broken – one small external change in the group or wrong sentence could cut this connection very quickly. Still at the end, our poor knowledge was forgiven, which has encouraged us to try even more new things.