The Alzheimer's Society is allocating specialist funding for dementia support training within the Jewish community.
A month-long pilot scheme in Manchester has provided training for lay carers, additionally offering expert advice and a peer network. The courses are being run in partnership with Jewish welfare charity The Fed at its Prestwich headquarters. A second pilot programme starts next month.
The Alzheimer's Society developed the training course with corporate sponsorship. Each course costs around £2,000 to run, much of which pays for care for dementia sufferers while their carers attend.
One woman on the first course, Melissa, is caring for a husband who developed early-onset dementia in his 50s."Day centres are largely geared towards older sufferers and are not suitable for his needs," she pointed out. "My biggest problem is keeping him occupied."
Some scientific studies have linked a gene to high levels of dementia among Ashkenazi Jews and other ethnic minorities. The society's north-west operations manager Sue Clarke said the charity was looking to reach out to ethnic communities.
"We are increasing our reach with the Jewish community but we need more funding to sustain this service and run continual programmes."
The Fed's Joyce Khan pointed out that those caring for dementia sufferers "express a deep sense of loss and extreme isolation. Sadly the case of Melissa is not unique."