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New Alzheimer’s Association Research Shows that Hispanics Experience Health Care Disparity and Discrimination in Getting Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care
 

Going to the doctor can be scary for some. A good doctor-patient relationship is built on honesty, trust, the ability to spot symptoms, asking questions, and then diagnosis.

So, it goes with the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia. But what happens when families feel doctors aren’t listening to them? Gina Martinez-Villagomez remembers taking her mother Merida to the doctor. The family noticed increasing times when she didn’t recognize her husband, or she would say she had to get home before her parents got mad at her.

After tests, Martinez-Villagomez said the doctor told the family they found two spots on her mother’s brain and that she probably had a small stroke. She’s fine, Martinez-Villagomez said she remembers the doctor saying. “She’s not fine,” Martinez-Villagomez said in recounting the story. “That’s one thing that made me upset,” she said. “We know she has Alzheimer’s and you guys are not doing anything.”

Her mother died in 2019 with Alzheimer’s disease.

Findings from two national surveys appearing in the Alzheimer’s Association 2021 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report reveal that a third of Hispanic Americans (33%) report having experienced discrimination when seeking health care.

In addition, half or more of non-White caregivers say they have experienced discrimination when navigating health care settings for their care recipient, with the top concern being that providers or staff do not listen to what they are saying because of their race, color or ethnicity.

The Alzheimer’s Association is working to help families get a diagnosis and have access to the most beneficial caregiver support available. One of the Association’s goals is to reach and engage diverse communities in education, support and other opportunities that are readily available. All of the Alzheimer’s Association’s services are free. Anyone can call the Association’s 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900 or go to https://www.alz.org

Eric VanVlymen, Ohio Regional Leader of the Alzheimer’s Association, said in Ohio, the Association is conducting community forums to get more insight into Ohioans’ experience. “We consistently say go to the doctor if you are noticing memory issues, but it is imperative that once people are there that people are diagnosed as early as possible and get the medical care needed.”

The Alzheimer’s Association is helping to train primary care physicians to increase the accuracy and timeliness of diagnosis of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementia through an initiative called Project Echo®. Once enrolled, physicians can present cases and get coaching from a multidisciplinary clinical team of experts from around the country.

VanVlymen said current and future health care providers must be prepared to screen, diagnose and treat Alzheimer’s and dementia in racially and ethnically diverse older adults because by 2050, up to 39 percent of this older adult population will be non-White Americans.

“At the Association we are focused on working to understand how we achieve health equity in dementia because everyone deserves accurate and timely diagnosis and effective treatment,” VanVlymen said.

Tips on Getting an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

·         If you, your parent or spouse is having memory issues, go see a doctor

·         If it is a parent or spouse, ask if you can attend the doctor’s appointment

·          Make sure that your loved one has signed paperwork to allow the doctor to share information with you.

·         Remember you are the best advocate for your loved one. If you are not satisfied with what the doctor is saying, keep asking questions or ask for a second opinion.

·         Contact the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900. The Association can help educate you on the stages of the disease and do a care consultation for you and your loved one.

 

 

 
Copyright © 1989 to 2021 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 03/30/21 16:56:13 -0800.

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