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Report finds racial discrimination a barrier to Alzheimer’s care

Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 2:02 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - National surveys have found racial discrimination is a barrier to Alzheimer’s and dementia care.

It comes as more Vermonters are being diagnosed with the memory-impairing disease. Right now, there are about 13,000 Vermont seniors living with Alzheimer’s according to the Alzheimer’s Association. That’s expected to rise to 17,000 by 2025, a 30 percent increase. Upwards of 315 people died from Alzheimer’s last year alone.

“It’s scary. Alzheimer’s is the number one feared disease in the country. And it is for a reason. Alzheimer’s has had a stigma attached to it over the years and dementia has had a stigma attached to it. We need to eliminate that stigma, get people engaged early on in their treatment,” said the association’s Howard Goodrow.

Findings in the report “Race, Ethnicity and Alzheimer’s in America reveal that non-White racial/ethnic populations expect and experience more barriers when accessing dementia care, have less trust in medical research, and are less confident that they have access to health professionals who understand their ethnic and racial background and experiences.

Goodrow says there needs to be more work in educating members of the health care field about implicit bias and also more outreach to hire people of color within the medical community.

Cat Viglienzoni spoke with Goodrow about the association’s efforts.

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