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How Alzheimer’s Disease Affects the Target Population

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    The disease is common among the elderly population in the United States. The disease can cause one to lose the capacity to carry out cognitive functions. Dementia and loss of memory are also associated with the disease. A common risk factor for the disease is aging. With the baby boomer population on the rise, it is imperative that health care providers are knowledgeable on how to handle the needs of this large group. According to Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia from the Alzheimer’s Association, about 16 million Americans nationwide will have the disease in the year 2050 (‘Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia’, n.d.). Today, about 5 million Americans are currently living with the disease.

    The target population will be Hispanic Americans in California with Alzheimer’s. A study done in California by Fitten et al., (2014) presented that the associations of Alzheimer’s Disease such as dementia were more common in Hispanics than white non-Hispanics at a younger age. The youngest age group are those ages 65-74.

    The study found that on average, Hispanics already had onset symptoms of dementia 7 years younger than non-Hispanic whites. Socio-economic status plays a big factor and education level. The burdens of having Alzheimer’s causes one to lose their memory and mental functions. However, when one categorizes as a minority with Alzheimer’s, it can become more difficult as costs such as nursing homes tend to be troublesome to many. Currently, there is no way to prevent the disease so caring for this group is significant.

    Statistics from a study explained that by the year 2060, the minority population of ages 65 or older will represent 45% of the US population (Matthews et al., 2018). Many of the Hispanic population live in California. As indicated, the focused setting will be on Hispanic Americans in California who have Alzheimer’s. In the state of California, Alzheimer’s is the fourth leading cause of death just behind stroke. Statistics of the state of California from the CDC shows that during the year 2016 about 15,570 people died from the disease (“Statistics of the State of California”, 2018).

    To investigate the qualitative needs of my target population, reaching out to the Hispanic elderly population in California low income communities would be ideal. Conducting interviews with families who have a family member with Alzheimer’s will help us to better understand their needs.

    The interviews will be with the family members and the patient. The patient may not be able to be fully responsive with the interview questions which is why family members are present. Categorization will be gender, age, and education level. To investigate the quantitative needs, certain factors will be considered. Factors such as household income will be examined to see if the patient qualifies for certain aid or funding.

    The California Department of Aging provides a list of programs and services offered to seniors with disabilities and their caregivers. Financial resources are also available in the state to help those pay for healthcare costs. Medicare is a program that helps many seniors. However, according to the Status of Hispanic Older Adults in California (2016) from the National Hispanic Council on Aging, the Hispanic elderly population who have Medicare are only 21% as oppose to non-Hispanic whites which are 58%.

    Many Hispanics in California find it difficult to access quality healthcare. The Alzheimer’s Association mentions Adult Day Centers. Adult Day Centers are great for those with Alzheimer’s not only because they help the patient to become social and participate in activities, but it also allows the patient’s caregiver to rest. Other great benefits this program has to offer is access to health services, counseling, and therapy such as physical or occupational.

    There are many Adult Day Centers in the major cities of California such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, however, Adult Day Centers are limited in the rural and small-town communities. Counties such as Monterey, Fresno, and Tulare do not provide Adult Day Services Centers. Reaching out to these communities and assessing their qualitative and quantitative needs could be useful to see if Adult Day Centers will be helpful to their community. Although, today might not seem like programs such as Adult Day Centers will be useful, we have a large senior population on the rise and programs such as this will be important.

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