HABIT for Spanish Speakers: Part 1, The Need

Aug 6, 2019 | Dr. Octavio Santos | @droctaviosantos

Hispanic Mother Daughter

A while back, we told you about a research grant we received from the Alzheimer's Association Research Fellowship to Promote Diversity (AARF-D) program to carry out a study on the Spanish translation and cultural adaptation of the Memory Support System (MSS).  We wanted to give you an update on how recruitment for that study has been going.  In today's blog, let's talk about why there is a need for more interventions for Spanish speakers in our country.

In the United States, Hispanics represent 17.8% of the population. Compared to people of Caucasian origin, Hispanics are 1.5 times more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia. However, many Hispanics face linguistic, cultural, and economic barriers that limit their access to early diagnosis, treatment, and research.

It is estimated that 1 in 9 Hispanic adults aged 45 years and older are experiencing subjective cognitive decline (self-reported memory problems that have been getting worse over the past years) and among them:

  • Nearly 1 in 2 reports that their cognitive decline interfered with social activities, work, or volunteering.
  • About half have to give up day-to-day activities and need help with household tasks.
  • Less than half have discussed their symptoms with a healthcare provider.

Regarding caregiving, 1 in 6 Hispanic adults are caregivers and among them:

  • Nearly half have provided care to someone for at least 2 years.
  • One third have provided care for at least 20 hours per week.
  • About 58% are women and 9% are age 65 or older.
  • About 38% are caring for a parent or parent-in-law
  • Nearly 1 in 4 non-caregivers expect to become caregiver within 2 years.

We initially sought to recruit only Spanish speakers diagnosed with MCI, but given the fact that many do not have access to healthcare or have not seen their doctor about their memory symptoms, it quickly became apparent that we could find very few Spanish speakers in our area who had been diagnosed with MCI. So, we had to change how we looked for these participants with cognitive concerns. We had to leave the clinic and hospital system and get creative. Next week, we will talk more about how we did this, so stay tuned!





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