Selim Almeida, who cares for her 88-year-old mother who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, said: “The hardest part wasn’t physical, it was more mental, more emotional because in those days it’s what the proverb – that when you lose someone, you know what you really had, so in this sense what I have lost is the essence, the type of soul of a person. “
Alejandro Diez is a social worker with the Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota-North Dakota. Diez helps with Hispanic-Latin awareness and education and was one of the first people to help guide Almeida.
“Within our community, there has been a lot of stigma about Alzheimer’s or dementia, thinking, ‘Well, is there something wrong with Grandma or is there something wrong with Grandpa?’ And these aren’t normal signs of aging, Alzheimer’s and dementia are something different, so for people to understand and know what’s and what’s not, “Diez said.
The Alzheimer’s Association said Latins are 1.5 times more likely to develop dementia than non-Latin whites.
In this Hispanic Heritage Month, the association is raising awareness and unveiling new educational courses to help address disparities in Alzheimer’s diagnosis and treatment in its communities, including topics such as genetic predictors, disease stages and current research, offering hope and supporting families like Almeida’s.
“I’m trying to keep and enjoy at least the few moments, years and days, however, God will keep us alive, that we can enjoy it and try to save some of that relationship that you may have had in the past,” Almeida said.
To sign up for upcoming English or Spanish speaking Alzheimer’s presentations, to learn more about individual help and support groups or The Walk To End Alzheimer’s, and for the 24/7 helpline, visit this website.
Additionally, the Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota-North Dakota is looking for Spanish-speaking volunteers.