DIMENSIONS Fall 2010

Remembering the Legacy of Love:

Alzheimer’s Association Fifth Annual African American Caregivers Forum

By Rowena Rye, Cirector Community Resources

The Alzheimer’s Association 2010 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures includes a special report on race, ethnicity, and Alzheimer’s disease. The report is published each year by the Alzheimer’s Association and provides a statistical resource for U.S. data related to Alzheimer’s disease - the most common type of dementia - as well as other dementias.

photo of African American man and woman

What is most striking about this year’s report is the projected growth in the number of Americans who are expected to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. In Washington State, that number is 110,000. The report anticipates that this number will double by 2025 and triple by 2050. At present, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease every seventy seconds.

And for every person with dementia, there are unpaid caregivers - family members, friends, and neighbors who all contribute to the care and support of someone with dementia. In Washington State, that number is currently 204,000.

According to the special report, older African Americans are two times more likely than Caucasian Americans to have Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. When differences between racial and ethnic groups are found, it is sometimes assumed that the difference must be due to genetic factors, but no known genetic factors can account for the difference in prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias (The special report also looked at the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in the Hispanic community).

On the other hand, conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, both of which are known risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, are more common in older African-Americans and Hispanics than in older whites. The increased prevalence of high blood pressure and diabetes most likely accounts for some of the differences in prevalence of dementias among these groups.

This prevalence is a large part of why the Alzheimer’s Association organizes, and Aging and Disability Services of Seattle/King County helps underwrite, the African American Caregivers Forum. This year’s theme is Remembering the Legacy of Love and will be held at a new location (see details below) to accommodate the growing number of caregivers who will attend this year’s forum.

This year’s Keynote Speaker is Seattle broadcast veteran Connie Thompson of KOMO 4 NEWS.

No stranger to the challenges faced by caregivers, for the past several years Connie and her sisters have been providing the emotional, social, and physical support for their mother in her daily struggle with dementia.

Other forum highlights include

For more information and to register online, visit: www.alz.org/alzwa/in_my_community_13864.asp.

WHEN: November 20, 2010
WHERE: The DoubleTree Guest Suites, 16500 Southcenter Parkway, Tukwila, WA 98188
COST: Free-of-charge but early registration is encouraged. Breakfast and lunch are included.

If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, contact Rowena Rye, Director Community Resources, 206.529.3866, Rowena.Rye@alz.org.

If you need transportation to the event or are interested in arranging for respite care for the day of the event, contact Rowena Rye, Director Community Resources, 206.529.3866, Rowena.Rye@alz.org.

If you are interested in reading the Alzheimer’s Association 2010 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, please visit the Association’s Web site at www.alzwa.org.


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