According to recent research conducted by the Alzheimer’s Association, the number of older Hispanics with Alzheimer’s, and related dementias, could rise more than six-fold from fewer than 200,000 today to as many as 1.3 million by 2050.
Dr. Alva says there are several reasons why this is expected to occur. According to the U.S. Census, the percent of the population 65 and older will more than double for Hispanics in the next four decades.
“When we take a look at the demographics out there, Hispanics are going to be the lead,” he says about the mind-numbing disease. “If the biggest risk factor is getting older, the group that is living longer than other groups is Hispanics.”
Without having adequate information on Alzheimer’s disease, Dr. Alva is concerned family members’ needs may not be properly addressed.
“It’s important for people to understand that Alzheimer’s is not normal aging,” he says. “The reality is that if somebody is having memory problems, has trouble participating in conversations, or is less motivated, withdrawn socially, or thinking slower, this might be Alzheimer’s.”
If these symptoms are detected in your loved one, you need to seek out a doctor. It could be something as minor as a vitamin deficiency, but it could also mean the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and he says it’s important to identify what stage of the disease you are in early-middle –late, as soon as possible.
Although, Dr. Alva says Alzheimer’s is not curable, there are ways to slow down the process. This is what we can do to protect ourselves and loved ones:
- Eat healthy – preferably low cholesterol foods and a Mediterranean diet
- Therapy – depression and stress need to be addressed
- Quit smoking
- Keep your mind sharp – read, learn a new language, pick up a musical instrument, go back to college
“The more you use your brain, the more reserves you are building up,” says Dr. Alva. “What’s typically good for the heart is good for the brain.”
For information on Alzheimer’s care and assisted living in Greensboro, NC contact Spring Arbor.