-Dr.Kathy Johnson, PhD, CMC
On Monday, July 11th, the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease took place in Honolulu, Hawaii. Many new studies and research were presented, but the most interesting findings were the role that race and culture play in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
Several professors at the University of California, San Francisco, conducted a study that examined the relationship between dementia and nursing home placement and mortality. The study found that many of the African American and Latino participants that were not placed in nursing homes lived longer than most of the white participants. This study suggested that in-home care might be more culturally appropriate for African American and Latino elders.
This study also explored the different ways in which varying cultures deal with death and the patterns in which these cultures seek help for dementia in their elders. While white families were found to seek elder care about two years after noticing dementia signs, American Indians and African Americans tended to wait about five or six years to seek help. R. Scott Turner, Director of the Memory Disorders Program at Georgetown University Medical Center, believes that the culture differences affecting the treatment of Alzheimer’s are very important due to our country’s changing demographics.