Are Race & Ethnicity Barriers to Accessing Alzheimer's and Dementia Care?

By Lou Portero - Last Updated: January 26, 2022

Race and ethnicity may be a barrier to accessing Alzheimer’s and dementia care, according to the Alzheimer’s Association’s special report, on “Race, Ethnicity and Alzheimer’s in America.”

The study surveyed U.S. adults and their caregivers on several issues related to Alzheimer’s and dementia care, including participants’ interest in clinical trials and their views on discrimination in access to care.

The survey included 2,491 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older. Of those, 945 respondents were white, 541 were Hispanic, 515 were black, and 412 were Asian American. In addition, researchers also surveyed 1,392 people who were currently or had recently provided unpaid care to patients with Alzheimer’s. Of the caregivers, 313 were white, 309 Hispanic, 305 black, 301 Asian, and 154 Native American.

The survey revealed that 66% of blacks believed their race made it more difficult to receive excellent care for Alzheimer’s or other dementias. This view was shared by 40% of Native Americans, 39% of Hispanics, and 34% of Asian Americans.

The study also found that 36% of black Americans, 18% of Hispanic Americans, and 19% of Asian Americans believe discrimination would be a barrier to receiving Alzheimer’s care. 50% of black men and 42% of Native Americans also reported experiencing discrimination in health care. This number was lower for Hispanics (33%) and Asian Americans (34%).

Among caregivers, 42% of black caregivers were concerned that providers or staff did not listen to them because of their race. This view was also shared by 31% of Native Americans, 30% of Asian Americans, and 28% of Hispanic caregivers. However, this concern was significantly lower among white caregivers (17%).

According to the authors, “Future Alzheimer’s and dementia research can be strengthened by increasing the diversity of investigators and professionals who conduct clinical trials and population health research.”


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