If you care about brain health and social justice, you know that glaring inequities continue to harm communities of color. We need solutions. Now. That’s why I’m thrilled our new report: “Better Brain Health Through Equity” lays out specific policies that, if enacted, will develop more equitable outcomes. AARP is a co-sponsor of the Milken Institute’s Alliance to Improve Dementia Care.
Our report lays out specific, practical ways to build equity for brain health in racially and ethnically diverse communities. Among the highlights, we need to:
- Strengthen the infrastructure among health-care, long-term care, and community-based organizations. Better community outreach and engagement based on trust, more transparency in research and greater coordination among providers are all needed. We must implement collaborative care models shown to improve care and reduce costs in Medicare; these are pilots which rely on and support the use of nurses, community health, and long-term care workers.
- Expand dementia-friendly networks and workplaces in diverse communities. This is crucial because individuals and caregivers of color are more likely than Whites to live with dementia, isolated and lacking institutional supports. Supporting home and community based services and family caregivers for people living with dementia, such as expanding paid family and medical leave would do much to build the equity we need.
By the end of this decade, Latinos and African Americans are predicted to make up 40 percent of U.S. families living with dementia. This trend is neither just or sustainable, but it is reversible. Inequities in prevention, detection and diagnosis of brain-health issues call out for solutions we have the power to change.
Read the full report: Better Brain Health through Equity: Addressing Health and Economic Disparities in Dementia for African Americans and Latinos (Rajiv Ahuja, Associate Director, Center for the Future of Aging & Cara Levy, Senior Associate, Center for the Future of Aging)