A Greek-Australian neuropsychologist in Melbourne is developing a test that will be tailor-made to diagnose whether elderly Greek Australians are suffering from senile dementia, which is often complicated by the effects of poor communication between medical staff and patients.
“It has been observed that misdiagnoses are two to three times more frequent among elderly [immigrants],” says Matthaios Staios. “This is also due to the existing tests, which come initially from the US and are aimed at a population with a higher educational level and different mother tongue.”
Melbourne has one of the world’s biggest communities of diaspora Greeks, with over 250,000 arriving in Australia between 1940 and 1980. Many who went there after WWII, explains Staios, had only completed elementary school, started work upon arrival and didn’t have the time to learn fluent English.