Friday, September 23, 2016
Alzheimer’s a growing burden among Latinos
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The incidence and costs of Alzheimer’s disease will place a growing burden on U.S. Latinos, who generally have the fewest resources to deal with the disease, according to a new report.
Nationwide, the number of Latinos living with Alzheimer’s is projected to increase from 379,000 in 2012 to 3.5 million by 2060 — a growth of 823 percent, says the report by the University of Southern California’s Institute on Aging and the LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s network. The most dramatic jump will be among Latinos who are 85 or older, which will increase by more than 12 times, from 145,000 in 2012 to 1.7 million in 2060.
As the number of Latino families touched by the disease grows, the economic impact will reach a cumulative $2.35 trillion (in 2012 dollars) by 2060, the report finds. Medical and long-term-care expenses, unpaid informal care and patients’ earnings lost to the disease are included in the estimates.
“This timely report provides strong evidence of the rapidly escalating burden of Alzheimer’s disease on the U.S. Latino population,” said William Vega, co-author of the report and executive director of the USC Roybal Institute on Aging.
Whites currently make up the great majority of the more than 5 million people in the United States with Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. But Latinos are the fastest-growing population in the United States, and their life expectancy also is expected to grow to age 87 by 2050, surpassing all other ethnic groups.
Right now, there are an estimated 56.8 million Latinos in the nation, 354,674 in Ohio and 44,359 in Columbus, according to census data. In 2012, Latinos age 65 or older made up 5.6 percent of all Latinos; that percentage will rise to 18.1 percent in 2060.
Latinos also are about 1.5 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than whites. Advanced age, poor access to medical care and having higher rates of cardiovascular risks such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are believed to be contributors. African-Americans, with similar problems, are twice as likely as whites to develop Alzheimer’s.
Yet, they are less likely to take preventative health measures or regularly see a primary-care physician, said Vince McGrail, executive director and CEO of the central Ohio chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
“We’re definitely reaching out to African-American and Hispanic populations to raise awareness of their risk to developing Alzheimer’s so they can make lifestyle changes to protect themselves against the disease and plans should they ever get a diagnosis,” he said.
Most older Latino adults live month-to-month on fixed incomes and can’t afford the $41,000 to $56,000 that families can expect to spend annually on dementia-related costs, the report found.
As a result, Latinos are more likely to seek options that are more affordable than whites, such as caring for a loved one at home or choosing an adult day-care program over a nursing home, said Shinyi Wu, a co-author and senior scientist at the USC Roybal Institute on Aging.
Still, the total cost of Alzheimer’s on Latinos will outpace the cost for whites, Wu said. And there will be fewer young people to care for older Latinos living with Alzheimer’s, adding significant societal and economic stress.
Daisy Duarte finds caring for her mother draining, but also the most important job she has ever had.
“Every penny I earn goes to my mother’s care,” said Duarte, a caregiver advocate with LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s who lives in Springfield, Missouri. “I have hope, but we need help, and we need a cure.”
Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by COLUMBUSDISPATCH
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