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Raising awareness about Alzheimer's Disease among Spanish-speaking Latinos

Dharma E. Cortes, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School, 1493 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02139, 781-321-1038, decortes@aol.com

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia. Findings suggest that Latinos are at a great risk for symptom severity, in part due to diagnosis at later stages of the disease. The goal of this study was to develop informational materials on AD for Spanish-speaking Latinos guided by the first-hand experiences of family members taking care of a family member with AD. In addition, the study assessed the needs that Latino caregivers have for information about AD and stress related to the role of caregiver. Caregivers were interviewed several times in order to obtain retrospective information about their experience recognizing early symptoms of AD, seeking professional help, learning about AD, taking care of the AD patient as well as their functional health literacy levels. Key informants (e.g., outreach staff at AD programs, directors of senior citizens programs, directors of AD diagnostic clinics) were also interviewed to obtain input about how to address informational gaps in the area of AD among Spanish-speaking Latinos. In addition to this, in-depth analyses of readily available information on AD in Spanish were conducted in order to assess readability levels as well as topics covered. Findings from these research activities led to the development of an informational toolkit designed to raise awareness about AD and fill informational gaps about AD among Spanish-speaking Latinos. The toolkit has been pilot tested at community-based organizations serving Latinos, and findings have been used to further improve the delivery of information at the community level.

Learning Objectives: Participants will be able to

Keywords: Latino Health, Health Literacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Diversity Over the Life Course: Race, Ethnicity and Aging

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA