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 Latinos to See Aging Explosion, Along With Cases of Alzheimer’s

While the national aging trend is well established, a lesser-known expectation is for the Latino population to experience a much more explosive growth rate than for non-Latino Caucasians in not only aging, but also in contracting Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). In fact, researchers said Latinos could see a whopping 832 percent increase in AD cases over the next four decades.
This information is contained in a new report by the USC Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging and the Latinos Against Alzheimer’s network, which seeks to inform stakeholders that Latinos, once known as the “younger” of the various populations that make up the United States, is preparing to age rapidly.
As background, the U.S. Census Bureau projects the Latino population will double from around 49 million in 2009 to 106 million by 2050. As this happens, the report said, the Administration on Aging predicts that between 2008 and 2030 the Latino population aged 65 years and older will grow by 224 percent, dwarfing the 65 percent increase for non-Latino Caucasians.
“This age shift will have serious consequences for the nation’s health care system, including the impact of a significant rise in the number of Latino older adults living with AD and the number of Americans caring for them,” the report said.
Among the implications for this aging Latino trend, include:
·   Latino families are highly under-resourced in terms of income, retirement benefits, and pension benefits. “As the Latino population ages, a growing number of Latino communities, families, and systems of care will be confronted by the growing crisis of AD with the fewest resources to manage it,” the report said.
·   Researchers said the number of Latinos living with AD could rise from 379,000 in 2012 to 3.5 million by 2060—a growth of 832 percent—unless a medical breakthrough cures or slows the progression of the disease.
·   As the number of Latino families affected by AD increases over the coming decades, the economic impact on the Latino community could reach a cumulative $2.35 trillion (in 2012 dollars) by 2060. “This perfect storm poses significant challenges that should be examined through a health equity and economic justice lens and be addressed with the utmost urgency by policymakers, health care systems, and industry and community leaders,” the report said.
·   To help stem the future impact of AD on the Latino community, report authors suggested stakeholders establish goals and strategies for eliminating disparities in Alzheimer’s diagnosis, care utilization, and research participation rates in federal- and state-based action plans that focus on AD, brain health, and health disparities.
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