An Accidental Advocate-Arthena Caston Talks Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease
Some Important Facts About Alzheimer’s Disease and African Americans
Despite these crazy high numbers, African Americans and Latinos with Alzheimer’s are, on average, less likely than white Americans to seek medical care and also to be diagnosed. Why?
- Stigma, misunderstanding, and difficulty managing our often complicated healthcare system are some of the reasons Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia diagnosis is different for people of color. Diagnosis rates, access to quality treatment, and clinical research and trial participation are often much lower for African Americans and other people of color. I witnessed this when I was a nurse practitioner helping families navigate a dementia diagnosis.
- Common issues for Underserved Communities:
- Many specialist offices are located near major hospital systems making transportation a challenge. Potential Obstacles:
- Driving into a city
- Navigating parking
- Long walks into the clinics
- Waiting for the provider
- Public transportation is a challenge for all of us and nearly impossible for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease.
- Families need to take time off of work
- There is no cure, and patients and families often see no real reason for visits.
- Clinical trials may not be available close to them.
- The added expenses of all the above may be enough for some to avoid medical care.
- Families may be worried about being judged. Some confided in me that they thought they were the only ones having problems learning to care for their loved one and they worried about being “forced’ to put their loved one in long term care. For these reasons, they may not only avoid medical care but may also avoid reaching out to support groups and social services for assistance.