Alzheimer's took her father. Now, she's encouraging other Hispanic Americans to seek help before it's too late

Posted at 7:34 AM, Oct 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-03 17:27:22-04

RICHMOND, Va. — Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the culture, but also bring awareness to some disparities the community is facing.

Reports show that Hispanic Americans are 1.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease than white Americans.

Lissette Carbajal knows this statistic firsthand. Her father immigrated from Peru and settled in Virginia years ago. During her third year as a student at the University of Virginia, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. She said her dad was in his early 60s.

"Over the years, we noticed that he couldn't remember simple things, forgot simple tasks, forgot how to get home," said Carbajal. "And it wasn't until the disease had progressed significantly, that he was officially diagnosed."

Carbajal noted her dad was hesitant to speak up and seek help for Alzheimer’s initially, and he’s not alone. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, almost 6 in 10
Hispanic Americans believe a significant loss of memory or cognitive abilities is a normal part of aging.

"My father's story is just one of thousands of stories," she noted. "And a lot of people don't come out and share these stories, especially in the Hispanic community because of the fear of stigma, and really the fear of knowing the truth of what's really happening with their loved one."

Research also shows Hispanic Americans tend to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the later stage of the disease, and are less likely to be recruited for clinical trials.

The Alzheimer's Association states 13% of Latinos age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or another dementia or if you believe you could have the disease and would like additional information, you canfind resources here.

You can also contact the 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900 for free bilingual care consultation in English and Spanish.



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