As the United States elderly population grows, Alzheimer's disease poses a significant challenge to the public health fraternity. Alzheimer's disease can be both financially and emotionally ruinous to families, caregivers, and society. The condition has had a lot of impacts on healthcare, economic, and socially. So, what is Alzheimer? Alzheimer is a progressive brain disease which causes memory loss and difficulty in thinking. Alzheimer symptoms include difficulty in remembering new information, confusion, and mood change. Besides, the disease can lead to one's inability to take care of self and also perform basic life tasks (Krohn, 2019). In recent studies, Alzheimer is ranked among the top ten causes of death in the United States without a known cure. This disease excessively hampers African Americans and other minority communities (Alzheimer's, 2015) .This paper will look to discuss the impact of Alzheimer and Other Dementias' in the people of color. We will consider the impacts basing our arguments from the film, In our Right Mind, which tells the untold stories of the overwhelming effect of the Alzheimer on the minorities.
The documentary by Renee Chenault Fattah, a veteran journalist, compassionately discuss different stories of African Americans and Hispanics who have been affected by this disease. Besides, the documentary tells the story of the communities and the caregivers who support Alzheimer patients. The documentary tells different accounts, for instance, the Crowder family of Baltimore who has spent the past seventeen years taking care of their ailing father who has Alzheimer disease and now they bear witness as their mother suffers from the disease as well. Renee travels all over the country, listening to people stories trying to understand why the disease enormously impacts the people of color. Recent studies have shown that African-Americans are two times likely to advance the condition compared to the whites.
Similarly, Latinos are 1.5 times more likely to develop Alzheimer compared to whites. According to a recent report by the University of Southern California, the number of Latinos in the United States is expected to increase massively in the coming years. The study shows that the Latinos and the African Americans are less likely to be diagnosed with the disease earlier like the whites. This makes it hard to develop a fit care plan. In addition, the people of color families are less likely to know when the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer and dementia start to show compared to the whites. This calls for the need for brain health promotion and research engagement among these communities (Borges-Machado, 2019).
Since Alzheimer disease causes brain damage, patients are often reliant to other people for daily care, and they also rely on medical care as well as long term services and support. Recent medical reports show that over 40 percent of residents in the nursing home is diagnosed with Alzheimer or dementia disease (Meyer et al, 2017). Therefore, this disease has a massive impact on both the patients and the caregivers, including the nurses. Care coordination is a potential approach which can address the needs of Alzheimer patients and the caregivers and also help to improve the outcome of all. Care coordination implicates organization of the patient's care events and shares the information with the other parties involved in the patients care to help achieve effective care. The care coordinator should be a social worker or a nurse trained in dementia care. Multidisciplinary care team involving a therapist social worker, psychiatrist, or a nurse is included to support the care coordinator. Care coordination consists of a structured needs assessment to evaluate the care receiver's health and the caregiver's needs and concerns. A care plan should also be written to show the treatment plan on a set period. The care coordinator is responsible to either directly arrange the care or refer the patients and the caregivers to the providers. Lastly, the care coordinator should continuously monitor the care plan implementation, which should involve counseling and other therapy for the caregiver.
From the documentary, I can reflect the threat of this fatal disease and the best approach and strategies to fight this deadly disease. In 2016, a study showed that informal caregivers spend an estimate of 18 billion hours taking care to Alzheimer or dementia patients which is over $200 billion economic value. From the film, we understand that African American families have spent more time providing care for their loved ones compared to their White American peers. Ultimately, this is the right time for all the federal agencies and non-governmental organizations to come on board and address this crisis as they did with HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and more recently, disease like Ebola. The government should provide adequate resources to match the remarkable challenge this disease is representing in the community as well as the economy. Awareness and early screening of the disease should be encouraged to ensure early diagnosis to ensure a proper care plan. Brain health should be emphasized among the people of color to provide a first understanding of the signs and symptoms of the disease. People should be taught the healthy-brain lifestyle in which create awareness of the disease. Finally, the welfare of the caregivers should also be considered; hence, care coordination should be encouraged.
Alzheimer's, A. (2015). 2015 Alzheimer's disease facts and figures. Alzheimer's & dementia: the journal of the Alzheimer's Association, 11(3), 332.
Borges-Machado, F., Ribeiro, O., Sampaio, A., Marques-Aleixo, I., Meireles, J., & Carvalho, J. (2019). Feasibility and Impact of a Multicomponent Exercise Intervention in Patients With Alzheimer's Disease: A Pilot Study. American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease & Other Dementias, 34(2), 95-103.
Krohn, M. (2018). Art Therapy and the Quality of Life among Elderly with Dementia (Doctoral dissertation).
Meyer, O., & Hinton, M. L. (2017). Dementia Family Caregiving.
Renee Chenault Fattah 's Documentary - In Our Right Mind: Alzheimer's and Other Dementias'
Impact in Communities of Color. (2019). Retrieved 27 September 2019, from https://www.kimmelcenter.org/events-and-tickets/201920/rentals/in-our-right-mind-alzheimers-and-other-dementias-impact-in-communities-of-color-film-screening-and-panel-discussion/
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