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New Report Examines Disparities in Dementia Care

  • March 11, 2022
  • Older adults, Patients and Families

A new report from the Alzheimer’s Association finds that non-white racial/ethnic populations expect and experience more barriers when accessing dementia care and report having less trust in medical research than white Americans. “Race, Ethnicity and Alzheimer’s in America,” is a companion report to the Association’s annual Facts and Figures report.

The Association conducted 2 national surveys in October and November of 2020. One survey of nearly 2,500 U.S. adults age 18 and older; the second was a survey of more than 1,300 U.S. adults who were current or recent unpaid caregivers for an adult relative or friend age 50 or older experiencing problems with thinking, understanding or remembering things.

Half or more of non-white caregivers say they have experienced discrimination when navigating health care settings for their care recipient, the study reports. The top concern expressed was that health care professionals or staff do not listen to what they are saying because of their race, color or ethnicity. This concern was expressed by 42% of Black caregivers, 31% of Native American caregivers, 30% of Asian American caregivers and 28% of Hispanic caregivers, compared to 17% White caregivers. Other barriers cited by caregivers include affordability, lack of good health insurance coverage, lack of good local health care and lack of family and social support.

  • Two-thirds of Black Americans (66%) believe their race/ethnicity makes it harder for them to get quality care for Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. That concern was also expressed by 40% of Native Americans, 39% of Hispanic Americans, and 34% of Asian Americans.
  • Fewer than half of Black (48%) and Native Americans (47%) feel confident they have access to healthcare professionals who understand their ethnic or racial background and experiences.
  • Concern about developing Alzheimer’s is lower among Native Americans (25%), Blacks (35%) and Hispanics (41%) compared with whites (48%).
  • Hispanic, Black and Native Americans are twice as likely as white people to say they would not see a doctor if experiencing thinking or memory problems.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Black Americans (62%) believe that medical research is biased against people of color — a view shared by substantial numbers of Asian Americans (45%), Native Americans (40%), Hispanic Americans (36%), White Americans (31%).
  • Only half of Black Americans (53%) trust a that future cure for Alzheimer’s will be shared equally regardless of race, color or ethnicity.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2021 Facts and Figures report, Black people and Hispanics are disproportionately more likely to have Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and more likely to have missed diagnoses, than older Whites. Health and socioeconomic disparities and systemic racism contribute to this increased risk in communities of color.

The Alzheimer’s Association survey also found that many non-white Americans say they have experienced discrimination seeking care in the broader healthcare system, including half of Black Americans, 42% of Native Americans, and about one-third of Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans.


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