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Dementia caregiving in the Middle East and North Africa: A scoping review

Background: Care for persons with dementia in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is undertaken predominantly by family members, domestic workers, and private nurses within the home. Domestic caregivers possess different understandings and varying degrees of knowledge of dementia that are influenced by complex socio-cultural and religious factors. With much of the burden falling on the shoulders of “invisible” caregivers, the role and needs of these individuals require deeper scrutiny. Objective: The purpose of this scoping review was to examine the empirical studies published on caring for persons with dementia in Arab countries of the MENA region. Methods: Using a systematic review technique, searches were conducted on PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar using database-specific terms associated with caregiving, dementia, aging, and the MENA region. To ensure local and regional research was captured, hand searches of regional journals, reference lists of included articles, and Arabic databases Al-Manhal and e-Marefa were also searched. No date restrictions were imposed. Results: Twenty studies met inclusion criteria and the following themes were identified: caregiving experiences and the burden of care; barriers to caregiving; and caregiver recommendations to improve care. Results demonstrate that studies about informal caregivers and dementia within Arab-Muslim populations are underrepresented in the research. Conclusions: This review highlights the paucity of literature on service users’ experiences and underscores the need for future research specific to dementia care within the Arab-Islamic sociocultural context. These trajectories are especially pertinent given the unprecedented aging demographics of the MENA populations. 

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Transcultural Psychiatry
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