Joan and Lucy are members of an increasing population of older adults in their 70s and 80s who will need some type of assistance to support them to age in place. Joan is a retired teacher and her partner Lucy is a retired social worker.
Joan told me, “We always planned on traveling after retirement. There are so many places we haven’t been, and we wanted to visit all of them. But then Lucy developed Alzheimer’s, and everything changed. We took some great trips at the beginning of the disease. We enjoyed every minute of our time together. It.... Read More
Vietnamese immigrants care for parents with dementia, amidst stigma
It was August 24, 2017, one day before Hurricane Harvey, a category 4 hurricane, hit Houston and dumped more water than any storm ever recorded in United States history. In just a few days, Houston saw as much rain as it usually saw in a year. My brother picked up our dad, who was 82, at his house, where he lived alone, and they evacuated to higher ground. They rode out the storm in the countryside. My brother’s in-laws had gotten 10 pounds of ground beef and made enough chili to last through the storm. This is.... Read More
Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month Highlight on Asian American Pacific Islanders
Alzheimer’s disease is a public health issue that impacts many. In the United States, 5.8 million people live with Alzheimer’s, while over 16 million family members and friends serve as their unpaid caregivers.
In light of June being Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA) is taking the time to reflect on how Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia uniquely impacts the aging Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Working closely with older adults through our programs, we feel the importance of these issues more with each day. After all, one of the greatest known risk factors for Alzheimer’s is age.
For example, African Americans and Latinos face a higher risk for some of our country’s most common health problems, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, stroke, Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
To understand and address these disparities, greater attention must be paid to the role of.... Read More
Group sessions in St. Louis offer hope and help to African Americans at risk of cognitive decline
We wish to introduce the Diverse Elders Coalition to our “Senior Social Group For Brain Health As We Age!” Founded and led by Dr. Whitney Postman, Ph.D./CCC-SLP, Assistant Professor and Director of the Neuro-Rehabilitation of Language Laboratory at Saint Louis University’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, this group was forged as a community partnership between Saint Louis University’s Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program, Northside Senior Center, and CareSTL Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center serving predominantly African American and economically disadvantaged residents of North St. Louis. Our aim is to reduce health.... Read More
African Americans Face Greater Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease Than Whites
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,.... 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.