New Study Reveals Dementia Symptoms in Hispanic People Present Differently

caregiver hugging senior with dementia symptoms
Learn how dementia symptoms appear to progress faster in the Latino community.

Recent research sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association is revealing some surprising findings in how dementia symptoms present differently in Latino Community. While additional research is required to completely understand whether these differences are the results of social/cultural nuances or perhaps the dementia itself, it is important information for Latino families to understand.

Daily Living Activities

In comparison to other ethnicities, one highlight associated with the research was the dramatic decline in the ability to do everyday activities, like getting dressed, walking, and taking a shower. Andrea Ochoa Lopez, the University of Houston doctoral student who managed the research, stated that the cultural commitment to caring for elderly family 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 said. “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

Depression and anxiety are risk factors for dementia. A separate research study of 5,000 people showed a considerably higher percentage of Latino adults reporting these dementia symptoms: significantly more than 25%, as compared to almost 16% and 11% in black and non-Hispanic white participants, respectively. Concentrating on the mental health of people with dementia is crucial. Clinical psychologist Michael Cuccaro explains, “We have lots of great evidence that medications and talk therapy help, but minorities have the lowest rate of getting this help.”

Although more thorough scientific studies are needed to better understand these ethnic differences in dementia, finding minorities to be involved in scientific studies is still an issue. Latinos currently make up less than 8% of existing dementia research studies – in spite of the fact that the prevalence of dementia in Latinos is as much as 50% greater than it is in non-Hispanic whites.

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

At Golden Harmony, our home care services in Raleigh and surrounding areas hires care providers who are extensively trained and experienced in helping adults with whatever their challenges are, making life the best it can be. We achieve this by meeting with each senior in his or her home prior to the beginning of services, enabling us to develop an individualized care plan. We then diligently monitor the care plan as time passes to ensure needs are met, both now and in the future.

Whether the need is for assistance with meals, housework, companionship, and transportation, or more specialized dementia help is necessary, Golden Harmony is the ideal solution. Contact us at 919-426-7522 to arrange your free in-home consultation to learn more.