Long Term Care

Dementia Incidence Highest Among African Americans and American Indians

April 6th, 2016
Dementia Incidence Highest Among African Americans

The ‘Annals of Long-Term Care’ reports incident rates of dementia in the United States are highest among African Americans and American Indians.

This is the first study which reviewed this issue as it pertains to the diversity of US culture. The study, published online ahead of print in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, analyzed data from more than 274,000 northern California members of Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest private integrated health care system with more than 10 million members.

The researchers used electronic health records covering patient visits over 14 years—from January 2000 through December 2013—to identify participants diagnosed with dementia as well as their race and ethnicity. The dementia diagnoses included Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and non-specific dementia.

The incident rates were highest for African-Americans, followed by American Indians/Native Alaskans, Latinos and Pacific Islanders, and whites. The lowest rate was shown for Asian Americans.

“Even in the lowest risk groups in the study, the lifetime risk of developing dementia is high,” said study senior author Rachel Whitmer, PhD, Epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, CA. “Our projections indicate that in every racial and ethnic group, over one in four people who survive to age 65 can expect to be diagnosed with dementia in their lifetime.”

Planning experts indicate these reinforce reasons for people to plan for the financial costs and burdens that extended Long Term Care and aging issue place on the American family.

Many people incorrectly think their health insurance or Medicare (health insurance for those 65 and older) will pay for these extended healthcare costs.

Long Term Care Insurance will pay for care at home or in a facility.

“Individuals mistakenly have been led to believe that Long Term Care insurance costs thousands of dollars,” states Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (www.aaltci.org).

Premiums are a fraction of that if your health is good and you start planning as part of retirement planning prior to retirement.

“Some people may qualify for a public program to help pay for these (Long Term Care) expenses, most people use a variety of options, including Long Term Care insurance,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (www.longtermcare.gov).

HHS says if a person reaches the age of 65 they will have a 70% chance of needing some type of Long Term Health Care service before they die. Memory loss is just one thing that can cause people to need help with normal activities of daily living or require supervision due to memory issues.