Helping the Chinese community Survive Winter

Group of Asian elders exercising inside a community hallChinese elders exercise as part of Heathy Winter Project event at the Vassall Centre, Fishponds

Members of the Chinese community flocked to an event about staying healthy in winter which received a £2,000 Surviving Winter grant from Quartet Community Foundation.

The Bristol and Avon Chinese Women’s Group is a cause that Quartet has supported for nearly 30 years.

Its founder Mrs Rosa Hui, MBE DL, explained how many of its service users lack language skills yet are reluctant to seek help.

“We’re a proud race,” she said. “We don’t ask for help. Even asking for help is a weakness.”

The first in a trio of three-hour Healthy Winter Project workshops was held at the Vassall Centre in Fishponds on Wednesday, November 20.

A large crowd of about 50 people came along to hear talks on dementia awareness and healthy eating. They also took part in tai chi and cooking demonstrations.

Ms Hui introduced the day and spoke about research into dementia among Bristol BME (black and minority ethnic) communities which she successfully lobbied for.

It found that Chinese and ethnic minority people were being misdiagnosed or received a late diagnosis for dementia due to language barriers and cultural differences. This was impacting on the treatment patients received.

A doctor from the Bristol Dementia Wellbeing Service spoke to the room.

She said the disease affects 850,000 people across the UK, including 4,500 in Bristol, and this number is predicted to rise to a million by 2021.

An individual’s risk of contracting dementia rises as they get older: one in 14 people aged 65 will get it and one in six of 80-year-olds will.

Attendees were told about symptoms and signs of dementia, how to reduce their risk and the treatment services that are available.

In the second session of the morning attendees were asked to explain their experience of ageing in one or two words.

They said: hormonal changes, walking slowly, loneliness and hearing. And on the positive side: not working.

Poon Chung Choi retired from his job at the University of Bristol to care for his father who had been diagnosed with dementia.

He sought the help of the Bristol and Avon Chinese Women’s Group which provided a Chinese-speaking Care Support Worker.

Mr Choi has now joined the group’s board of trustees and his daughter helps part-time with the group whenever she can.

“They do a lot to help the local community,” he said.

Ms Hui said she was very thankful for the £2,000 grant from Quartet.

“It makes sure we help our elderly to stay warm and healthy in winter and avoid unnecessary admissions to hospital,” she said.

The event was held jointly with Alzheimer’s Research UK, who has provided funding for a pilot project to raise awareness of Dementia in the Chinese community, which aims to break down language/cultural barriers and encourage earlier diagnosis and intervention for people living with the condition.


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