Dementia Incidence Highest Among African Americans

African Americans and Native Americans have the highest incidence rates of dementia, according to research. People require long-term health care due to an illness, accident, or the impact of aging. This includes the risk of cognitive decline. Planning is essential.

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Dementia Incidence Highest Among African Americans
5 Min Read April 6th, 2016 Updated:February 10th, 2022

The ‘Annals of Long-Term Care’ reports that the incident rates of dementia in the United States are highest among African Americans and American Indians.

This is the first study that examined this issue regarding the diversity of U.S. culture. The study, published online ahead of print in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, analyzed data from more than 274,000 northern California members of Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest private integrated health care system with more than 10 million members.

The researchers used electronic health records covering patient visits over 14 years—from January 2000 through December 2013—to identify participants diagnosed with dementia as well as their race and ethnicity. The dementia diagnoses included Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and non-specific dementia.

Familial Risk of Alzheimer’s is Higher with Racial Groups Than Others

The incident rates were highest for African-Americans, followed by American Indians/Native Alaskans, Latinos and Pacific Islanders, and whites. The lowest rate was shown for Asian Americans.

“Even in the lowest risk groups in the study, the lifetime risk of developing dementia is high,” “Our projections indicate that in every racial and ethnic group, over one in four people who survive to age 65 can expect to be diagnosed with dementia in their lifetime.” 

 Rachel Whitmer, Ph.D., Epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, CA.

Planning experts indicate that these facts reinforce why people need to prepare for the financial costs and burdens that long-term health care places on the American family.

Don't Expect Health Insurance/Medicare to Pay for Long-Term Memory Care

Many people incorrectly think their health insurance or Medicare (health insurance for those 65 and older) will pay for these extended health care costs. The fact is that these types of traditional plans pay little or nothing toward most long-term care costs. 

Medicaid will pay for long-term health care services, but the care recipient must have little or no income and assets to qualify for those benefits. 

The responsibility is placed on your and your family unless you consider an advance plan that includes affordable Long-Term Care Insurance.

Long-Term Care Insurance will pay for in-home care or care in a facility. You and your family will have choice and control over your future care.

“Individuals mistakenly have been led to believe that Long-Term Care insurance costs thousands of dollars.”  

 Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance

Premiums are a fraction of the actual costs of long-term health care services. If your health is good and you act in your 40s and 50s, the premiums are very affordable. In fact, most people obtain coverage in their 50s. The key is to start planning early as part of retirement planning before retirement.

“Some people may qualify for a public program to help pay for these (Long-Term Care) expenses, most people use a variety of options, including Long-Term Care insurance,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Risk of Long-Term Care Increases with Age

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says if a person reaches 65, they have a nearly 50% chance of needing some long-term care services before they die. 

Memory loss is just one of several reasons people require help with everyday activities of daily living or require supervision due to memory issues.

African-Americans should pay special attention to cognitive decline as Alzheimer’s disease is more prevalent among African-Americans than among whites.

With the range being 14% to almost 100% higher than other groups, African-American families should prepare for the financial and emotional costs of dementia. 

Dementia Impacts All of Us - Planning is Essential

Other groups have some familial risk of Alzheimer’s, but most dementia is not genetic. Researchers indicate, however, that genetic and environmental factors may work differently with blacks than they do with other racial groups. 

The best way for many American families to plan for the financial costs and burdens of aging is with an affordable Long-Term Care Insurance policy. These policies are custom designed, so you can easily get a policy that fits your budget.

Partnership Long-Term Care Insurance Offers Additional Asset Protection

Most states offer Partnership Long-Term Care Insurance that provides additional dollar-for-dollar asset protection. A partnership policy gives you an affordable way to safeguard your assets, no matter how long you may require care.

Be sure to find a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you design a plan and shop from among the major insurance companies. 

LTC Insurance is Affordable - Premiums Vary Between Companies

Premiums for Long-Term Care Insurance vary dramatically between companies for the same coverage. You should shop; a qualified specialist will help you navigate the many options, so you make the best selection.

Find a trusted and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist

With an affordable LTC policy in place, you will enjoy guaranteed benefits. It will protect your 401(k) IRA and other assets from the costs of longevity. 

Remember, planning for long-term care is more than just asset protection. It is about family. Give your family the time to be family, and you preserve savings, lifestyle, and legacy. 

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About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

Editor's Note

A solid retirement plan should include a strategy for longevity and the impact that long-term health care will have on you, your family, income, savings, lifestyle, and legacy. Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance gives you access to your choice of quality care either at home or in a facility.

Remember, Long-Term Care Insurance will pay for long-term custodial care, the most common type of care we will need. Health insurance, including Medicare and Medicare Supplements, will only pay for a small portion of skilled care. Medicaid will only pay if you have little or no savings and income.

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Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

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Insurance rates are regulated, so no insurance agent, agency, or financial advisor can give you special deals. However, premiums vary over 100% between insurance companies for the same coverage.

Experts suggest using a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you navigate the many options available to you and your family.

A specialist who works with the top companies can match your age, health, family history, and other factors and find you the best coverage at the best value. A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

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LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claims process with your Long-Term Care Insurance policy. 

You can also get support in finding quality caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News.

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