According to the Special Report on Race, Ethnicity, and Alzheimer’s Disease shown in the 2010 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, African Americans are the hardest-hit in terms of developing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. African Americans are twice as likely as Caucasians to be diagnosed with dementia, an incurable disease. Additionally, the report reveals African Americans have a higher proportion of vascular diseases (including heart attack and stroke), one of the speculated risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease. Nurses working with those suffering from dementia, whether as a family member or in a hospital setting, are well aware of the devastating effects of these diseases—both on patients and their families.

Even though research confirms a higher prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia among African Americans, the caregiving experiences for African Americans have not been fully explored. Furthermore, caregiving literature demonstrates an ever-growing chasm in the knowledge base, involving the relationship between caregiving stressors and physical health effects for African American caregivers. An unraveling of African American caregivers’ experiences is long overdue.

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