A father and son share a good laugh. That hasn’t changed. But a lot has.
Justin Davis’s father has Alzheimer’s. He said, “It’s been a role reversal as opposed to me being able to look to him, he looks to me.”
Alzheimer’s has robbed 73 year-old Charles Davis of his short term memory.
“A lot of personality, a lot of character changes, he’s just not the same person,” Justin said.
As he struggles to care for his dad in Oakland, 32 year-old Justin Davis says he often feels he facing the problem alone.
He’s clearly not.
A new Alzheimer’s report shows African Americans are two times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than whites.
And Hispanics are one and a half times more likely to develop the disease.
One possible reason? The two groups are also have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes — conditions linked to Alzheimer’s.
Here at the BACS adult day care center in Oakland, nearly seven out of every ten clients are African American.
Program director Roberta Tracy says the new research does not surprise her.
“The healthcare and nutrition that minorities have early on, I think contribute to the state of affairs,” Tracy said.
Other experts suspect that because certain cultures respect the elderly so much, they try to conceal their flaws — often leading families to ignore symptoms and delay treatment.
Davis said, “Alzheimer’s in the black community is like the elephant in the room. It’s not really spoken about.”
Justin hopes more African American families will now take the time to learn about the disease — because he says you never know when you may be staring Alzheimer’s in the face.
He said, “It’s a big loss cause you lose that person that you’re so accustomed to and you lose your relationship.”
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, researchers say you can reduce your risk by exercising both your body and mind.