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Dementia in Korean-American Elders

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Dementia in Korean-American Elders

Dementia in Korean-American Elders

Though ethnic minority elders experience dementia at higher prevalence than their white counterparts, they are comparatively underdiagnosed and at risk of inappropriate treatment. Hae Ra Han and her team are working to change that.

Date: 01/25/2017

Ethnic minority elders in the United States have a higher prevalence of dementia than their white counterparts—yet are comparatively underdiagnosed and at greater risk of not receiving appropriate care, notes Hae Ra Han, co-director of the Center for Cardiovascular and Chronic Care at the school of nursing.

Building on 10 years of collaborative, interdisciplinary research within the Korean-American community—one of the fastest-growing minority populations—Han and her team have conducted a study estimating the prevalence of dementia within this population. Moreover, she says, “We’ve successfully trained bilingual community health workers and obtained evidence to support the feasibility and efficacy of using them to assess dementia in community-residing Korean-American elders.”

Now, continuing their work among elders at the Korean Community Service Center of Greater Washington, Han and team are developing and pilot testing a dementia literacy training and navigation support intervention plan. The goal: Community health workers could use the plan to help transition affected Korean elders into the health care system for adequate diagnostic follow-up and evaluation.

“Early detection of dementia allows for a transition to early dementia care that may delay or slow deterioration of cognitive functions and functional disabilities,” says Han, “and enable families to adequately plan for the potential challenges of dementia caregiving.”