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Mehdipanah R, Briceño EM, Gonzales XF, Heeringa SG, Levine DA, Langa KM, Garcia N, Longoria R, Morgenstern LB. Dementia care needs for individuals and caregivers among Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic Whites. Aging & mental health. 2022 Aug 1; 26(8):1630-1641.
Mexican Americans (MA) are more likely to have cognitive impairment and dementia (CID), be diagnosed at an earlier age and live with CID longer, compared to non-Hispanic Whites (NHW). While studies have examined unmet needs of individuals with CID and their caregivers, few have focused on MA populations in the U.S. This paper examines the needs of community-residing individuals with CID and their caregivers in Nueces County, Texas, a county with one of the largest MA populations in the U.S., while exploring ethnic differences in needs identified. Using concept mapping, a mixed-method approach, qualitative input on perceived needs by informal caregivers and health professionals was collected. Participants then sorted and rated perceived needs. Using this information, multidimensional scaling and cluster analyses were conducted to map the relationship between perceived needs and determine their importance and priority. Five clusters were derived for caregivers and four for the health professionals. Themes across both caregivers and health professionals highlighted the need for specialized and team-based medical care, caregiver support and training, along with socio-economic and physical needs that help with day-to-day care of individuals with CID. Among caregivers, MA rated financial resources as more important and of higher priority compared to NHW. The health professionals' perspectives were aligned with those of all caregivers. By understanding the needs of caregivers and individuals with CID, we can help families deal with this disease and let caregivers thrive. This is especially important for minority populations like MAs.