Adalat Hussain cares for his 93-year-old father who suffers from dementia. He speaks about the daily challenges he faces as well as those from external cultural influences.

"Too many people blame jinns or taweez for what is actually Dementia.'

“I have seen a steady decline in my father’s well-being in the last three years.

“He no longer recognises my brother and I.

“Although he lives with my brother and myself, my dad still feels isolated.

“He keeps asking me if I know any other Pakistani’s in the area that may be from his village in Pakistan.

“He repeats the same questions over and over again. It is heart-breaking when he asks things like ‘Where am I?’ ‘Can you take me home?’ and ‘What’s your name?’ “He doesn’t understand that he is ill.

"He knows something is wrong, but he doesn’t know what dementia is.”

The word dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes.

Adalat said: “I don’t think there is a word in Urdu or Punjabi for dementia.

“My dad thinks he has gone mad.”

Adalat reveals that his father is not alone in reaching that conclusion. He says that many of his peers attribute his father’s condition to part of the natural ageing process, and even more worryingly to supernatural forces.

“There is still a lot of lack of awareness about dementia in the local Asian community in Blackburn,” continues Adalat.

“People are very quick to blame the condition on being possessed by a jinn or that someone has put a taweez on you.

“That perception is really challenging to break.

“At first even my mum thought someone had used a taweez or put buri nazar (evil eye) on my dad.

“I was really surprised that my mum came around after my brother and I spoke to her about dementia in detail.

“My dad often asks us to try and ‘fix’ him. He says that we are educated people, so we should talk to him and make him better. It is very distressing when he says that.”

Each person is unique and will experience dementia in their own way.

The different types of dementia tend to affect people differently, especially in the early stages.

How others respond to the person, and how supportive or enabling the person’s surroundings are, also greatly affect how well someone can live with dementia. Adalat says that his father has a tendency to talk to strangers when he is out.

Because his father’s language has become incoherent, Adalat is quick to explain to the other person that his dad suffers from dementia. People, however, still seem reluctant to accept his explanation.

“They say, ‘it’s alright, he’s like that because he’s old.’ “People need to understand that dementia is an illness.

"This is not a natural sign of ageing. I notice that many of my friends or people I know in the community are still not acknowledging that.

"They still think it is part of growing old.”

Since learning of his father’s condition, Adalat has read broadly about dementia and has attended support groups for carers.

“There is a lot of empathy in the groups.

"It can be difficult for people to understand the day-to-day pressures.

"From helping my dad in the bathroom when he is point blank refusing help, to monitoring what he eats, to angry outbursts due to frustration.

“It upsets me a lot when my dad says things like ‘Why am I alive in this condition? I should be dead.’ "His dementia is a contributing factor to him feeling depressed. It is so important that people are aware of the illness and the effect it has on the patient themselves.”

Zoe Aldcroft , Dementia Strategy coordinator for Blackburn with Darwen said: “We are working with local community group One Voice to gain a real and full understanding of the issues and barriers around dementia.

“It is important that the needs of all older people and their carers and families are understood and recognised so that service planning and delivery really does start to meet the needs of all local people.”