Recent research sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association is uncovering some striking results in how dementia may present differently in Hispanic people. While more investigation is required to completely understand whether these differences are the outcome of social/cultural nuances or the dementia itself, it is worthwhile information for Latino families to understand. Dementia in Latinos may provide distinct clues compared with other populations
Daily Life Activities
One highlight of this study was the dramatically faster decline in the ability to perform everyday activities, including walking, getting dressed, and taking a shower, in comparison to other ethnicities. Andrea Ochoa Lopez, the University of Houston doctoral student who led the research, explained that the cultural commitment to caring for senior family members can be a contributing factor.
“Some families want to start doing everything for their older members to try and remove some of the burdens and make their lives easier,” she reported. “But there is research showing that when cognition is declining, older people actually do better when they stay active. And there is also still stigma. They may not want their elder family member to be seen as ill or mentally unstable.”
Anxiety and Depression
Although we are aware that depression and anxiety are risk factors for dementia, a separate research study of 5,000 people revealed a noticeably higher percentage of Hispanic people reporting these issues: significantly more than 25%, when compared with approximately 16% and 11% in black and non-Hispanic white participants, respectively. Focusing on the mental wellness of adults with dementia is essential. Clinical psychologist Michael Cuccaro states, “We have lots of great evidence that medications and talk therapy help, but minorities have the lowest rate of getting this help.”
Although more diverse research is necessary to better comprehend these ethnic differences in dementia, finding minorities to participate in studies is difficult. Latinos currently comprise less than 8% of current dementia scientific research studies – in spite of the reality that the prevalence of dementia in Latinos is as much as 50% more than it is in non-Hispanic whites.
Families who want to learn more about current Latino dementia research opportunities can visit the Alzheimer’s Association’s TrialMatch page to learn more.
At Atlanta Home Care Partners, our care providers are fully trained and experienced in helping older adults with whatever their particular difficulties are, making life the very best it can be. We accomplish this by consulting with each older adult at home prior to the start of services, allowing us to create a personalized plan of care. We then diligently monitor the care plan as time passes to ensure that needs are always met fully, both now and as needs change.
If the need may be for just a little assistance with meals and housework, companionship, and transportation, or if additional specialized dementia home care is needed, Atlanta Home Care Partners has the perfect solution for the personalized caregiver and companion care Decatur, GA families need. Contact us at 404.228.0103 to set up a free in-home consultation to find out more.