New York, NY (March 14, 2007) African-American and Hispanic caregivers (1) of people with Alzheimer's disease are significantly more likely than caregivers of other races to consider the disease a normal part of the aging process and dismiss its symptoms as part of getting older, according to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America's (AFA) second ICAN: Investigating Caregivers' Attitudes and Needs survey. This gap in understanding sheds light on the reasons for delay in diagnosis and treatment, which is an unnecessary setback for caregivers and individuals with the disease alike.
"Facing Alzheimer's disease is never easy, but getting a diagnosis and taking advantage of support services are crucial steps to treating and managing the disease," said Eric J. Hall, Chief Executive Officer of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America. "We encourage everyone touched by Alzheimer's disease to reach out for assistance help is out there."
The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of AFA, a national nonprofit organization providing care and services to individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, and their families.
According to the survey released today, African-American and Hispanic caregivers surveyed were significantly more likely (37% versus 33%) than caregivers of other races (23%) to believe that Alzheimer's disease is a normal part of the aging process. In fact, Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative illness. Compounding the problem, African-American (70%) and Hispanic (67%) caregivers were also significantly more likely to dismiss the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease as old age than other respondents of other races (53%). Additionally, African-American (67%) and Hispanic (63%) caregivers were significantly more likely to report that they did not know enough about the disease to recognize the symptoms compared to caregivers of other races (49%).