New research sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association is uncovering some unexpected results in the unique signs and symptoms Latino seniors with dementia may experience. While more exploration is required to completely understand whether these differences are the outcome of social/cultural nuances or perhaps the dementia itself, it is important information for Latino families to learn.
One highlight of the new study was the significantly faster decline in the capability to execute everyday activities, like getting dressed, walking, and taking a shower, compared to other ethnicities. Andrea Ochoa Lopez, the University of Houston doctoral student who led the research, clarified that the cultural commitment to looking after senior family members can be a contributing factor that affects how loved ones care for Latino seniors with dementia.
“Some families want to start doing everything for their older family members to try and remove some of the burdens and make their lives easier,” she mentioned. “But there is research showing that when cognition is declining, older people actually do better when they stay active. And there is also still a stigma. They may not want their elder family member to be seen as ill or mentally unstable.”
Depression and Anxiety
While we understand anxiety and depression are risk factors for dementia, an independent study of 5,000 individuals showed a markedly higher percentage of Hispanic adults reporting these issues: more than 25%, compared to almost 16% and 11% in black and non-Hispanic white participants, respectively. Centering on the mental health of those with dementia is a must. 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.”
While more thorough studies are necessary to more clearly comprehend these ethnic differences in dementia, finding minorities to participate in studies is an issue. Latinos currently make up fewer than 8% of current dementia scientific research studies – regardless of the fact that the prevalence of dementia in Latinos is as much as 50% greater than it is in non-Hispanic whites. The more Latinos involved in dementia research studies, the more efficiently caregivers can develop special care for Latino seniors with dementia.
Families interested in exploring current Latino dementia research opportunities can visit the Alzheimer’s Association’s TrialMatch page to learn more.
At CareWorks Health Services, our care providers are fully trained and experienced in assisting seniors with their unique challenges, making life the best it can be. We accomplish this by meeting with each older adult in his or her home before the start of services, enabling us to create a customized care plan. We then diligently monitor the care plan ongoing to make certain that needs are always met thoroughly, both now and as needs change.
If there is a need for a little assistance with meals and housework, companionship, transportation, or additional specialized dementia caregiving, CareWorks Health Services provides the perfect solution with customized home health care in Laguna Woods and surrounding areas. Give us a call at (949) 859-4700 to set up a free in-home consultation for more information.