by Rodney Brooks. This article originally appeared in USA TODAY.
A decade ago, Rushern Baker III started seeing signs that something was wrong with his wife when she was still in her late 40s. Christa Beverly was forgetting things and losing things. Then, she was hopelessly lost only blocks from her parents’ home.
It took some doing, but he convinced her to see a doctor. She was tested, and at age 49 was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. At the time, Baker was preparing to run for county executive in Prince Georges County, Md., which borders Washington, D.C., an election he won in 2010.
Within a few years of the diagnosis, Christa had lost most of her functions. Today, at age 58, she.... Read More
For a handful of months now, I’ve been contemplating a decision that I know many long-term HIV survivors have contemplated before me.
That is, I have considered going off my medications—all of them—and letting Nature and the virus just take their course. As a long-time advocate of a patient’s right to choose when and how to end his own life when facing a terminal disease, the decision to cease medication seems to me a perfectly rational, honorable decision available to me.
In the United States, diabetes is most prevalent among Southerners and residents of Appalachian regions. Blacks are afflicted more than whites. Over a third of African American seniors are diagnosed as diabetic.
The prevalence of diabetes increases with age, Kelly Zimmerman, spokeswoman for Louisiana’s Department of Health, said last week. Adults ages 65 and older had the highest rate in the state last year at 26.1 percent. Diabetes among all of Louisiana’s adults 18 years and above was 13.6 percent. For the state’s African American adults of.... Read More
SAGEPositive: How SAGE cares for long-term survivors of HIV
The 30th annual World AIDS Day was this past Saturday, December 1st, and this year’s theme is “Know your status.” Knowing your status gives you powerful information to keep you and your potential partners healthy. SAGE can refer you to places across New York State where you can.... Read More
Conquering Health Disparities Facing Older Hispanics
For far too many years, Hispanics across the country have been sidelined in critical medical research. As a result, our community is not taken into consideration in the creation of medical treatment programs that, for some, would be their best chance for survival. For a community that already faces a lower life expectancy, higher rates of diabetes and other critical health disparities when compared to their white peers, this reality is simply unacceptable.
Even worse is the lack of precise medical treatments for older Hispanic populations. As some of the most vulnerable members of our society, these individuals deserve equal access to treatment.... Read More
Every long-term HIV survivor on the planet has stories to tell about friends, lovers, co-workers, and/or family members whom they lost to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 90s. Anyone familiar with my writing knows the importance I place on our storytelling, our sharing our stories ourselves, to avoid the “straight-washing” of our history that happens when we let others tell our stories. With that in mind, this is a story about the first of my friends to die.
Dean died first. In early 1982. For about a year, we had.... Read More
New Report Identifies Unique Challenges for LGBT Community Facing Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias
LGBT and Dementia – a new issues brief developed by the Alzheimer’s Association and SAGE outlines the unique challenges facing LGBT older adults living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias and their caregivers. The brief outlines the unique issues that arise when Alzheimer’s disease, sexual orientation, and gender identification and expression intersect, allowing advocates and care providers to better meet the needs of LGBT elders and their caregivers facing dementia.
“Living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia is not easy for anyone,” said Sam Fazio, Ph.D., director of quality care and psychosocial research, Alzheimer’s Association. “But LGBT individuals can often face additional challenges that need to be considered and addressed to ensure this population.... Read More
Around the first of April of this year, I began using a wheelchair when I leave the apartment. This was an inevitability that I resisted, fought off for as long as I could. Admitting that I need a wheelchair struck me as “the last straw,” akin to simply giving up, accepting the fact that the virus is winning. Worse, I have become more of a burden to my fiancé Rick than a companion. (When he read a draft of this column, Rick balked at my thinking I’m a burden on him and assured me that I’m not. He’s a good man that way.)
However, between the debilitating pain in.... Read More
July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, and as we have previously shared mental illness affects one in five adults in America and is a leading cause of disability. Unfortunately, almost two-thirds of people with a diagnosable mental illness do not seek help, and racial and ethnic groups are even less likely to get help.
Furthermore, studies have shown that mental health is a major concern for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). Specifically, AI/ANs have a higher prevalence of a variety of mental health conditions, experience PTSD twice as often as the general population, and are known to experience serious psychological distress 1.5 times more than the general population.
Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are the fastest growing minority group in America, and between 2010 and 2030, the AAPI older adult population is projected to increase by 145 percent, according to the US Census. This growth will also impact the number of AAPI older adults with Alzheimer’s: For example, during this time frame, California, which is home to the nation’s largest population of AAPI older adults, expects Alzheimer’s disease to nearly triple among AAPIs. Many AAPIs do not report symptoms of dementia to a medical professional and consequently, AAPIs are unlikely to receive a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease in the early stage. AAPI families may underestimate the physical and emotional toll daily.... Read More