Texas County Distributes Book on Alzheimer’s Focused on Blacks
Health officials in Harris County, Texas, last week distributed to Houston-area churches about 20,000 copies of "The Book of Alzheimer's for African-American Churches," which details information and facts about the disease from a local prospective, the Houston Chronicle reports. The book also includes advice on how blacks can offer support to family members with the disease and how to ask for outside help.
Researchers believe that blacks have a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease because they also are more likely to have cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes, which might have cognitive effects, the Chronicle reports. Blacks are more likely to ignore symptoms of the disease among older members of the community because they believe memory loss and incoherence is a normal part of aging, according to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America. That belief causes some blacks to avoid seeking medical diagnosis or treatment, the Chronicle reports.
Richard Elbein, director of the Houston and Southeast Texas chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, said the effort is important because the black community historically has had limited access to health care services.
Victor Narcisse, a local gerontologist who has conducted research on dementia among blacks and is featured in the book, said, "African-Americans appear less likely to request help and use community resources than caregivers in the other groups," adding, "There is a tendency [for blacks] to take care of things [themselves], which is fine, but it is very difficult to take care of a person with Alzheimer's disease" (Casimir, Houston Chronicle, 10/15).