We took a look at the Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures Report. We looked at Arizona’s impact and numbers and disparities in healthcare. Dr. Marisa Menchola, a member of the Alzheimer’s Association Board, talked with us about this. Menchola said this is one of the most important healthcare, public health, and economic challenges that we will be facing in the next few decades.
Menchola said there are over 6 million adults that are 65 and older, who are living with Alzheimer’s in the United States. Because of how fast the population is aging, she said they expect the number to be over 7 million by 2025. She said we will be over 12 1/2 million by 2050. Menchola said Arizona has the fastest growth rate for Alzheimer’s disease in the nation. Arizona is expected to see an over 33% increase in older adults living with Alzheimer’s dementia between 2020 and 2025.
She said this will be a major strain on our healthcare systems, programs, and family. We talk about why Arizona has such high numbers. Menchola said it is because of a rapidly aging population, Arizona is a retirement destination. She also said we have an increasingly diverse population. She said racial minorities have a much higher rate of Alzheimer’s disease than white Americans.
We talked about disparities in health care and how it factors in. They found that memory loss amount non-white Americans was a more normal part of aging”. She said the Alzheimer’s Association commissioned surveys of black, Hispanic, native, and Asian American adults. She said they found there were consistent disparities for adults from ethnic-racial minorities.
She explained disparities like discrimination in the healthcare system. Some reported experiences include not being offered surgeries or “being talked down” to or disrespected.
We also talked about how to address the disparities in the growing numbers of Alzheimer’s patients. Menchola said there is a need to increase the racial representation in dementia research, and she also said to continue advocating for appropriate reimbursement for comprehensive dementia care.