Blacks, Hispanics More Likely To Dismiss Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease, Survey Finds
Almost 70% of black and Hispanic families who have relatives with Alzheimer's disease dismiss their symptoms as part of aging, compared with about half of non-Hispanic whites, according to a survey released on Wednesday by the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, the Miami Herald reports. The telephone survey, conducted between Jan. 9 and Feb. 6, included responses from 655 adults (Robinson, Miami Herald, 3/14). In addition, 67% of black and 63% of Hispanic caregivers said they did not know enough about Alzheimer's to recognize the symptoms, compared with 49% of other caregivers (Reinberg, HealthDay, 3/14). According to the survey, blacks and Hispanics also were less likely than non-Hispanic whites to place relatives with Alzheimer's in nursing homes or assisted living facilities and were more likely to rely on support groups. Researchers attributed the results of the survey in part to lack of education about Alzheimer's and stigma related to the disease among some cultural groups (Miami Herald, 3/14). Overall, 33% of caregivers said that patient concerns about stigma surrounding the disease delayed a diagnosis, and 26% said their own concern about stigma delayed a diagnosis. Minority caregivers were more likely to be concerned about stigma than caregivers of other races, according to the survey (HealthDay, 3/14). Researchers said that the results of the survey could help explain later diagnoses of Alzheimer's among blacks and Hispanics. Warachal Faison, a physician who worked on the survey, said, "Either they don't know what the symptoms are, or health professionals are not educating them" (Miami Herald, 3/14). Alzheimer's Foundation of America CEO Eric Hall said, "We see, again, stigma around this disease. Stigma promotes a denial of the disease and a delay in diagnosis." Laura Kochevar, associate director of Hispanic outreach at the Alzheimer's Association, said, "Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging. The need to educate people in minority communities about Alzheimer's is essential" (HealthDay, 3/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.