As Alzheimer’s Epidemic Grows, New Initiative Launched To Combat Alzheimer’s In The Growing Latino Community
WASHINGTON – Today, USAgainstAlzheimer’s launched LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s, the nation’s first-ever coalition of Latino organizations focused on raising awareness of Alzheimer's as an urgent health issue within the Latino community. Coalition members include: The Hispanic Federation, The Latino Alzheimer’s & Memory Disorders Alliance (LAMDA), The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA). The number of Latino older adults suffering from Alzheimer’s and related dementias could grow from an estimated 200,000 today to 1.3 million by 2050, a growth of 600 percent.
“As the Alzheimer’s epidemic grows, it is imperative that policymakers, healthcare service providers, and community stakeholders tackle this issue before it is too late for the communities most at risk for the disease,” said George Vradenburg, Founder, USAgainstAlzheimer’s. “The coalition announced today represents a significant first-step in developing a coordinated strategy against this disease within the Latino community and beyond.”
With the projected growth of Alzheimer’s disease and the dramatic growth of the Latino population, Alzheimer’s poses a serious threat to the health and well-being of the Latino community, the nation’s largest minority group. LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s will focus on building capacity for its coalition members to educate Latino communities about the disease, advocate for increased public commitment to find a cure, and address a serious lack of diversity in the clinical trial recruitment process. Despite representing 16 percent of the population, Latinos make up less than one percent of National Institutes of Health (NIH) clinical trial participants, representing a serious bottleneck in the search for a cure.
“It is time to bring Alzheimer’s out of the shadows in the Latino community,” said Jason Resendez, director of LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s. “Too many families are struggling with this disease everyday and it is critical for our community to come together to address this growing crisis with policy solutions, research, and public education.”
In addition to the coalition, LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s is also proud to announce the support of the LatinosAgainstAlzheimer's Honorary Congressional Committee, chaired by Senator Robert Menendez. Members of the committee include: Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ-13th District), Representative Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ - 3rd District), Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham, (D-NM - 1st District), Representative José E. Serrano (D-NY-15th District), Representative Loretta Sanchez (D-CA - 46th District), and Representative Juan Vargas (D-CA - 51st District).
A new brief issued today details the impact of the Alzheimer’s crisis on the Latino community. It found that:
· The number of Latino older adults suffering from Alzheimer’s and related dementias could increase by 2050 by more than 600 percent, from approximately 200,000 today to as many as 1.3 million.
· Latinos are about 1.5 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than whites.
· Latinos are disproportionately represented in the older age groups most at risk of Alzheimer’s disease (65 and older). Latino life expectancy is projected to increase to age 87 by 2050, surpassing all other ethnic groups in the United States.
· Latinos experience symptoms of Alzheimer’s about seven years earlier than whites.
“I see the destructive impact of Alzheimer’s on Latino families everyday and we can not afford to ignore this growing public health threat,” said Constantina Mizis, CEO of the Latino Alzheimer’s & Memory Disorders Alliance. “We look forward to ramping up our work against this disease in partnership with the LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s coalition.”
Alzheimer’s increasingly affects Latino families on two fronts; not only are they at higher risk of getting the disease, but they are at an increased risk of caring for a family member with the illness. According to a 2008 study by Evercare and the National Alliance for Caregiving, one-third of Latino households report having at least one caregiver and approximately 23 percent are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or a related condition. Given the cultural significance of the familia in the Latino community, families, and particularly daughters, provide a disproportionate share of Alzheimer care, often leaving the workforce to do so.
“Alzheimer’s represents a growing burden on Latino families and individuals, and we are proud to join LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s in taking a stand against this horrible disease,” said Dr. Yanira Cruz, NHCOA President and CEO. "As a member of the National Alzheimer's Project Act Advisory Council, I know that coordination and partnership are critical to stopping Alzheimer's and the launch of this coalition is an important first step in addressing this urgent public health issue."
In 2014, the direct costs of Alzheimer's will total an estimated $214 billion, including $150 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid, yet the economic impact of Alzheimer’s on the Latino community is unknown. To address this lack of research, LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s will release a report in 2015 that will identify the economic impact of Alzheimer’s care and associated costs on the Latino community.
Alzheimer’s affects 5.4 million people and 15.5 million caregivers in the U.S. and 44 million people and more than 100 million caregivers worldwide. Recent independent research shows that it is the third leading cause of death and the most expensive health condition in the U.S., outranking cancer and HIV/AIDS as a looming public health and fiscal issue. It is the only disease in the top ten that currently has no cure, treatment or prevention. Yet it receives dramatically less government funding, industry focus or scientific study than other less widespread diseases.
USAgainstAlzheimer's is an entrepreneurial and disruptive organization demanding a solution to Alzheimer's by 2020. Driven by the suffering of millions of families USAgainstAlzheimer’s presses for greater urgency from government, industry and the scientific community in the quest for an Alzheimer's cure – accomplishing this through effective leadership, collaborative advocacy, and strategic investments.