Latinos and a Potentially Unique Progression of Dementia

Family caregiver hugging senior loved one
A new study reveals a unique progression of dementia in Latinos

A new study sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association is uncovering some unexpected findings in how dementia may progress differently in Hispanic people. While further investigation is required to completely understand whether these differences are the consequence of social/cultural nuances or perhaps the dementia itself, it’s valuable information for Latino families to understand.

Activities of Daily Living

One feature associated with the study was the significantly faster decline in the capability to do everyday activities, including walking, getting dressed, and taking a shower, when compared with other ethnicities. Andrea Ochoa Lopez, the University of Houston doctoral student who managed the research, stated that the cultural devotion to caring for older loved ones could be a contributing factor.

“Some families want to start doing everything for their older 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 stigma. They may not want their elder family member to be seen as ill or mentally unstable.”

Depression and Anxiety

Although we understand anxiety and depression are risk factors for dementia, a different research study of 5,000 individuals showed a significantly higher percentage of Hispanic individuals reporting these concerns: a lot more than 25%, as compared to almost 16% and 11% in black and non-Hispanic white participants, respectively. Focusing on the mental health of adults with dementia is crucial. Clinical psychologist Michael Cuccaro points out, “We have lots of great evidence that medications and talk therapy help, but minorities have the lowest rate of getting this help.”

Although more diverse scientific studies are required to better comprehend these ethnic differences in dementia, finding minorities to take part in scientific studies is difficult. Latinos currently make up less than 8% of existing dementia scientific studies – in spite of the reality that the prevalence of dementia in Latinos is as much as 50% higher than it is in non-Hispanic whites.

Families looking into current Latino dementia research opportunities can visit the Alzheimer’s Association’s TrialMatch page to learn more. 

At JFS Care, the leading provider of dementia care in Burbank, CA and nearby areas, our care providers are fully trained and experienced in assisting adults with whatever their unique challenges are, making life the best it can be. We achieve this by talking to each senior at home prior to the start of services, helping us to build up a personalized care plan. We then carefully monitor the care plan as time passes to make sure that needs are always fully met, both now and as needs change with time.

If the need is for a little help with meals and housework, transportation and companionship, or if some more specialized dementia care is necessary, JFS Care offers the ideal solution. Contact us online or call (213) 383-2273 to set up a free in-home consultation to learn more.