By Lupe Bruneman and Mario Tapia
It seems like a true epidemic. Every day more and more people suffer from this disease, which for the last 100 years since its discovery, has been afflicting our beloved seniors in devastating ways. It was long ago that we learned that President Reagan suffered from this disease. Some think that it only affects people far away from us, however lately we are realizing it is closer than we think. It affects our neighbors with whom we’ve shared for many years who wander the hallways in our places of residence trying to remember where they live; It’s our friend’s parents who no longer recognize their children and welcome them with joy and affection, but instead with insults and inconsistencies. It is the sad and dramatic face of a terrible disease.
In 1994, the Latino Center on Aging (LCA) organization sponsored its first gerontological conference in Chile, later sponsoring subsequent conferences on the topic in Mexico, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico. Since then, we realized that the greatest interest of the participants lay in the Alzheimer’s Disease workshops. We all intuited that the longer people’s life expectancy was prolonged, the more likely it was that more people would suffer from this disease and not be prepared to deal with its consequences, both physical and emotional, and both to the patient and their loved ones.
In the United States, things are not so bright for Latinos either. Statistical projections tell us that there are just over 500,000 Hispanic people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease today and that this number will multiply 6 times over in the next 40 years, reaching 3 million. Efforts to help this segment of the population are very scarce. Especially when we see reports in the mainstream media suggesting that this disease would preferentially strike Hispanics one and a half times more than older whites. And how many of them have or have had access to appropriate health services and resources? How many of your families are receiving the necessary advice and support to deal with this disease? Those of us who work in this field know that resources are scarce, which is why the efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association and other organizations, including the Latino Center on Aging (LCA), are very important and must be replicated, both by public and private organizations.
Invitation: The LCA will hold its 9th Annual conference “A Life Without Memory: Latinos and Alzheimer’s” on May 11, 2022, from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the Austin Hepburn Senior Center, Hallandale Beach. Free and in Spanish. Register at email@example.com or by calling: (305) 647-1150.
*Mario Tapia is the President and Founder of the Latino Center on Aging (LCA) and host of “Para Mayores” on radio La Poderosa 670AM. Please tune in to “Para Mayores” on the 2nd Saturday of every month at 9:45 am to hear our radio show dealing with Medicare and other healthcare-related topics.
For more information, call Lupe Bruneman, HCMBA | South Florida Regional Business Manager
Toll free: (800) 709-5513 Direct: (305) 726-4749