Blacks twice as likely as whites to develop Alzheimer’s

by the Alzheimer’s Association

Older Black couple ponder Alzheimer's by CorbisWhile whites make up the majority of the 5.4 million people in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, research shows that African Americans are at a higher risk – approximately two times that of whites – to develop Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death for Americans in general, but according to UC Davis’ Alzheimer’s Disease Center, it is the fourth leading cause of death for African Americans 65 or older.

This is why the Alzheimer’s Association is partnering up with the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center and the Alameda County Area Agency on Aging to offer an African American Caregiving and Wellness Forum, “A Family Approach to Wellness,” to help the Bay Area community learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and how it is disproportionately affecting the African American community.

Research shows that African Americans are at a higher risk – approximately two times that of whites – to develop Alzheimer’s.

One of the key topics of the event will be the depression-dementia connection. According to Dr. Ladson Hinton, professor and director of Geriatric Psychiatry at the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center, there is a strong connection between depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

“Depression may be a risk factor for memory loss and it can cause symptoms of dementia,” said Dr. Hinton. “It’s a common symptom in persons with Alzheimer’s.”

However, the dementia-depression connection is not limited to people with dementia – caregivers are at risk for depression as well.

“Depression and stress may put caregivers at increased risk for memory loss; it’s also common in caregivers,” said Dr. Hinton, who will go into more detail about depression and dementia at the forum.

One of the key topics of the event will be the depression-dementia connection. According to Dr. Ladson Hinton, professor and director of Geriatric Psychiatry at the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center, there is a strong connection between depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition to this topic, the forum offers information about Alzheimer’s basics, caregiver advice and support and a discussion about the correlation between Alzheimer’s and other diseases prevalent in the African American community, such as diabetes and heart disease. Attendees will learn how to grow caregiver relationships, plan for the financial impact of future care needs, reduce stress and gain mindfulness.

According to Alzheimer’s Association Outreach Specialist Craig Wingate, “This conference will help our community understand risk factors for Alzheimer’s, provide practical caregiving tips and offer individuals the opportunity to get help and support.”

The forum will be held at the North Oakland Senior Center on Saturday, April 20, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. To register for this free event, call (800) 272-3900 or visit http://forum.kintera.org/2013AfricanAmerican. For more information, email Craig at cwingate@alz.org or Gwen at gmgates@usdavis.edu. Learn more about Alzheimer’s at alz.org.