CHICAGO, Sept. 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Alzheimer's Association, the Secretariat of Health of Mexico and the Institute for Mexicans Abroad, through its Ventanillas de Salud Program (VDS) announced today a nationwide collaboration to better reach and engage Mexicans living in the United States with important information relating to Alzheimer's detection, diagnosis, care, treatment, research and advocacy.
VDS is a binational collaborative program between government, non-profit agencies working together to increase access to health care, raise awareness around health related issues and promote healthy lifestyle choices among low-income migrants among Latino communities in the United States.
Developed by the Secretariat of Health and the Institute for Mexicans Abroad and implemented through 50 Mexican consulates in the United States, VDS provides health information, counseling and referrals to health services available in local communities. VDS also works to improve access to primary and preventive health services and to increase insurance coverage for Mexican families.
Through the collaboration announced today, the Alzheimer's Association will work with VDS to provide education materials and information on local programs and resources available to help families affected by Alzheimer's and other dementias.
"The Alzheimer's Association collaboration with VDS will help us reach a vulnerable population with needed resources and information to help individuals living with the disease and their families better navigate the challenges of Alzheimer's," said Marshawn Brown, Director, Diversity & Strategic Alliances for the Alzheimer's Association.
The collaboration addresses a critical need. Hispanic older adults are an especially vulnerable population. They carry a greater burden of chronic disease and are about one and one-half times more likely than older whites – to have Alzheimer's or another dementia. In addition, Hispanics are at greater risk for vascular disease. Contributing risk factors for vascular disease, including diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol may also be risk factors for Alzheimer's and stroke-related dementia.
In 2010, it was estimated that approximately 31.8 million people of Mexican origin were living in the United States. The U.S. Hispanic older adult population is the fastest-growing segment of the baby boomer generation. Today, U.S. Hispanics make up about 8 percent of the older adult population, but by 2050, they will make up nearly 20 percent of this population.
Hispanics/Latinos may also receive an Alzheimer's diagnosis at a later stage of the disease. Delays in diagnosis mean that Hispanics/Latinos are not getting treatments when they are most likely to be effective at improving quality of life. In addition, early detection and diagnosis can allow for earlier use of available treatments that may provide some relief of symptoms and help maintain independence longer. Delays in diagnosis also mean that Hispanics/Latinos with Alzheimer's or other dementias may miss the opportunity to make important legal, financial and care plans while they are still capable, as well as making their preferences known to their families.
"Mexican Nationals are considered the highest priority of the Government of Mexico, therefore the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME) seeks to understand the specific needs of the population and promote strategies that meet those needs. This collaboration with the Alzheimer's Association will strengthen the actions of access to health carried out by the Consular Network, to bring more and better services to the Mexican migrant population that has been affected by this disease, " said Emb. Juan Carlos Mendoza, Director of the Institute of Mexicans Abroad. For its part, Hilda Dávila, General Director of International Relations of the Ministry of Health, said "We recognize the important work of the Alzheimer's Association in disseminating useful information to our community in order to promote healthy behaviors and advance early detection of symptoms."
The Alzheimer's Association will work with VDS and the Mexican Consulate to identify and navigate barriers to accessing health care within the Hispanic/Latino community. Local Alzheimer's Association offices will play a key role in the VDS collaboration. These offices will work directly with VDS programs across the country to promote local programs and services. Additional activities may include:
- Dissemination of Alzheimer's Association information and materials through VDS programs in all 50 Mexican consulates within the U.S.
- Education and training for consulate staff and community partners to increase access to Alzheimer's information and resources. For example, efforts to recruit and train promotores (community health workers) to help bridge cultural and linguistic barriers that have previously slowed access to Alzheimer's information and resources.
- Collaboration on initiatives, such as Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month, and Hispanic Heritage Month.
"We are excited about our collaboration with VDS," Brown said. "It will allow the Alzheimer's Association to reach more families who need help. Alzheimer's disease is challenging under any circumstance, but even more so when you lack information and support services. This collaboration will help bridge this gap."
About the Alzheimer's Association®:
The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's®. Visit alz.org or call 800.272-3900.
About Ventanillas de Salud:
The potential reach of the Ventanillas de Salud is very significant because the program serves an average of 1.5 million people annually through its 50 locations in the United States.
The vision of the Ventanillas de Salud Program is to improve the physical and mental health of Mexicans living in the United States by:
- Increasing access to primary and preventive health services
- Increasing health insurance coverage
- Increasing the supply and quality of culturally sensitive services
- Reducing the use of emergency services
- Working as a reliable and sustainable health information network
SOURCE Alzheimer's Association