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
Stigma around Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth-leading cause of death among Americans, is slowly eroding as the disease becomes more and more visible in our communities and in popular culture. Films such as “Still Alice” and Pixar’s “Coco” are helping the general public to learn about and have conversations about dementia.
Open discussions of their personal diagnoses from high-profile figures like former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, musician Glen Campbell and restaurateur B. Smith are putting a public face on the progressive brain disease. While awareness is increasing, there are still aspects of Alzheimer’s and its impacts on society that are largely.... 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
Strengthening Community-Based Services for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Affected by Dementia
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
For those who, like me, have witnessed the slow but inevitable erosion of a loved one’s memories due to a mysterious form of dementia which increasingly strips them of the ability to remember longtime friends, to recall the steps needed to perform tasks once executed almost without thinking — even taking away navigational skills that previously led them to spaces that had held a special place in their hearts — Alzheimer’s disease and its impact can seem like a death sentence.
And while medical research has yet to provide a.... Read More
Advances in technology and data analysis are shaping the ways we identify, treat, and understand public health challenges like Alzheimer’s, a progressive brain disease that erodes memory and thinking skills. As the sixth leading cause of death in America, Alzheimer’s is distablizing our healthcare system, economy, and local communities. Its remarkable cost, about $277 billion annually, is even limiting the ability of states to invest in early childhood education. This multifaceted healthcare crisis is ripe for disruption and UsAgainstAlzheimer’s is fostering a dialogue on the power of tech to do just that by leveraging big data, machine learning, and digital technologies to improve detection, upskill caregivers, and to increase public awareness. Below are a few of the key areas that.... Read More
When Mom Doesn’t Recognize Me, I Tie a Knot and Hang On
I would have never believed there would ever come a time when my Mom–whom I’ve always described, whenever asked, as my best friend, No. 1 fan, personal “shero” and one who’s loved me unconditionally without hesitation or regret for my entire life–would look upon my face and require a few minutes before recognizing who I am.
But as her 90th birthday approaches, I must face the inevitable truth that Alzheimer’s is slowly, but surely, reshaping our world, her reality. The disease is eating away pieces of my mother’s mind, leaving a mere shell of the woman she once was. And, it both frightens me and causes great pain.
Our country has reached a critical moment. The aging of the baby boom generation and the fact that people are living longer is driving tremendous growth in the numbers of older adults. By 2030, one in five Americans will be age 65 or older. And statistics show that 90 percent of this population will want to age at home and in their communities.
To achieve this goal, older adults will likely need access to local services and supports — and their caregivers will need assistance, too. Providing those services is what members of the National Association.... Read More
“About 40 million family caregivers provide about $470 billion annually in unpaid care to their loved ones”
NHCOA forwards the following recommendations to better support Hispanic/Latino older adults by ensuring adequate training and care for their caregivers, and would like to urge and encourage members of Congress to support these important pieces of legislation that impacts their older Hispanic constituency:
Bipartisan passage of R.947 and S.337, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (the FAMILY Act). Bipartisan passage of S 1028, the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act.
The partnership will develop a network of health promoters to deliver Alzheimer’s education in Latino communities, while connecting people living with the disease and their caregivers to free resources and support services offered through the Alzheimer’s Association. The health promoters will help bridge cultural and linguistic barriers.... Read More
Latinos & Alzheimer’s: Empowering Communities Through Culture
The names of friends and family members become harder to remember. You might forget how to tie your shoes or have difficulty dressing in the morning. You might find yourself lost in places that you have known your entire life or be confused by what day of the week it is. These are some of the early signs of Alzheimer’s, a progressive brain disease impacting millions of Americans — and hitting women and communities of color especially hard.
In fact, Latinos are 1.5 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s or a related dementia than non-Latino whites, and a report from LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s and the USC Roybal Institute on Aging projects the number of Latinos living with.... Read More
Breaking stigmas, creating awareness, and increasing age-sensitive education are three key elements to improve the lives Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers
The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) continues its work by looking for strategies that amplify the voices of thousands of families facing Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, so their specific needs can be included in the decision-making process across public health.
Latinos face a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias because they are not only living longer (2.5 years longer than whites and 8 years longer than blacks), but they also face severe health disparities, including high levels of hunger, higher rates of type 2 diabetes incidence and complication rates, and lack of access to health insurance.