People of Color Experience More Discrimination When Seeking Dementia Care, Report Finds

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Non-white racial and ethnic populations in the U.S. experience more discriminatory barriers when accessing dementia care compared to white populations, a recent report has found.   

Findings from two national surveys that appeared in the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2021 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures special report revealed that approximately one-third of Black Americans (36 percent) and one-fifth of Hispanic Americans (18 percent) and Asian Americans (19 percent) believe that discrimination would be a barrier in receiving adequate and equitable dementia care.  

Carl V. Hill, the chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer of the Alzheimer’s Association, said in a press release that “despite ongoing efforts to address health and health care disparities in Alzheimer’s and dementia care, survey results show there is still a lot of work to be done. 

“Discrimination, lack of diversity among health care professionals, and mistrust in medical research create significant barriers to care and demand the country’s full attention,” he continued.   

The Facts and Figures report also highlighted that health and socioeconomic disparities and systemic racism contribute to increased dementia risk in communities of color. Fewer than half of Black Americans (48 percent) and Native Americans (47 percent) said they feel confident that they have access to providers who understandtheir ethnic or racial background and experiences. Nearly 63 percent of Asian Americans and 59 percent of Hispanic Americans expressed similar views.   

Additionally, the report concluded that more than half of non-white caregivers said that they have experienced discrimination when navigating health care settings on behalf of their care recipients. While discrimination extends beyond dementia care, the surveys have found that many of the respondents have experienced discrimination in the broader health care system.  

Half of the Black Americans surveyed said they’ve experienced discrimination when seeking health care; 42 percent of Native Americans and 34 percent of Hispanic Americans have reported experiencing health care discrimination.  

Read the full report here 

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