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Survey reveals misperceptions about Alzheimer's among African-American and Hispanic caregivers

American (33%) and Hispanic (26%) caregivers were also more likely than caregivers of other races (12%) to recognize that they are at a higher risk for Alzheimer's disease.

"Alzheimer's disease is a devastating illness that is by no means a normal part of aging," explained Warachal E. Faison, M.D., Assistant Director of the Institute for Research Minority Training on Mental Health and Aging, and Clinical Director of the Alzheimer's Research and Clinical Programs at the Medical University of South Carolina. "My deep concern is that caregivers who consider the disease normal and don't know how to recognize its symptoms are not going to be able to make the best healthcare decisions for their loved ones with the disease and themselves as caregivers. The fact is, it's crucial for caregivers to be able to identify symptoms and bring their loved one to a doctor without delay for proper diagnosis and treatment."

STIGMA CAN DELAY DIAGNOSIS, WHILE ETHNIC BARRIERS MAY NOT

Based on caregivers' responses, on average those they cared for with Alzheimer's typically experienced symptoms for 31 months before receiving a diagnosis. While not associating symptoms with Alzheimer's disease can be a cause for a delay in diagnosis, concern about stigma associated with the disease can also play a role. About one-third (33%) of overall respondents reported that their loved one's concern about stigma delayed diagnosis, while about a quarter (26%) indicated that their own concern about stigma was a reason for the delay, the survey found. African-American caregivers were significantly more concerned about stigma (36%) than Hispanic (22%) and other race (18%) caregivers. Other reasons for the delay in diagnosis included not wanting to face the possibility of something being wrong, fear of the responsibility of caregiving, not being offered a memory screening, and resistance in visiting a doctor.

The survey indicated that respondents, regardless
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Contact: Judy Welage
welagej@fleishman.com
212-453-2478
Fleishman-Hillard, Inc.
14-Mar-2007


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