Cultural awareness

The National Black Carers and Carers Workers Network have highlighted that they have been unable to find a word in Gujarati, Urdu, Punjabi or Bengali which translates into ‘carer’. This finding was reported by the Department of Health in its publication Carers at the heart of 21st century families and communities: A caring system on your side, a life of your own.  

Incidences of care being carried out within the family have also been found to be more common in certain cultural groups. In its report Characteristics of care providers and care receivers over time, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation reports that ‘Bangladeshi and Pakistani groups are more likely to be carers than any other ethnic group’.

In addition to sharing specific experiences of all carers, those from BME communities may face other issues, including:

  • Some families may be less likely to contact social care due to fear or misunderstanding, previous negative experiences or language barriers.
  • There may be concerns about cultural expectations of caring, where there may be expectations on family members to take responsibility for interpreting for the person they are caring for, regardless of their age or understanding.
  • Family carers within BME communities may be less able to access information about services or less able to articulate needs.
  • They may have faced cultural interpretations of illness and disability, which may manifest as discrimination or an unwillingness to understand or accept disability.
  • Families within BME communities may feel uncertain about support from formal sources because of cultural expectations of their role and a perception of their duty to look after elders.

(Sources: Department of Health, 1999; The Children’s Society, Young carers, parents and their families: key principles of practice)


We end up becoming translators, legal advisors, housing advisors and carers for the family. 

- Young carer

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