The James L. West Center for Dementia Care recently launched its first bilingual education program, “Cerebro Sano” or healthy brain in community centers, online and by invitation. The program received a two-year grant from Tarrant County’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to expand the Center’s current part-time program to full-time. With the help of the ARPA funds, James L. West Center for Dementia Care has been able to help Spanish-speaking families around Tarrant County with dementia and caregiver education and invites Latinos of all ages to receive this culturally-relevant dementia training for both prevention and care giving.
Latinos are 1.5 more likely than other groups at risk of dementia. In Tarrant County, Latinos make up 29% of the population and are also 50% more likely to be uninsured while over indexing for contributing factors such as cardiovascular disease, and a higher prevalence of conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and depression. Research indicates the onset of these factors occur at a younger age for Latinos than non-Latino whites. The CDC reports that the Alzheimer’s rates for Latinos will quadruple by 2060, to impact 3.5 million people in the U.S.
“The statistics are alarming, and we are honored to take this critical first step in reaching underserved communities with culturally relevant disease prevention,” stated Cheryl Harding, PhD., CEO of the West Center for Dementia Care. The bilingual program includes an introduction of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers and its evidence informed curriculum.
The “Cerebro Sano” program is designed to increase disease awareness, prevention and promote treatment. Almost 9 out of 10 Hispanics (85%) say it is important for Alzheimer’s and dementia care providers to understand their ethnic or racial background and experiences. And nearly one-fifth of Hispanic Americans (18%) believe discrimination would be a barrier to receiving Alzheimer’s care. Cultural relevancy is critical to this mission while research indicates that over one-third of Hispanic Americans (33%) report having experienced discrimination when seeking health care according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
“We are excited to be a part of this initiative which holds promise in raising awareness of dementia and its symptoms with the goal of replicating the program across Texas,” stated Lori L Kennedy, Director of Health Services Cornerstone Assistance Network.
Community activist and James L. West Center Board Member Eva Bonilla remarked, “it’s a privilege to serve and be part of an effort to make the Latinos visible and, at the center, of reducing disease with basic education and prevention information in-language and in our communities. My family has also been affected so I know my community needs to know more about dementia and how to best care for them.”
“These programs are helpful and important for the older Hispanic population in Tarrant County” stated Rev. Jesús (Jesse) González, Pastor, Gethsemane Presbyterian Church at a recent training session.
“I am building trust by delivering information that families are hungry to receive; my participants are often afraid to ask questions and, in many cases, don’t have someone to ask,” stated Emily Rodriguez, Bilingual Program Coordinator. Participants frequently become repeat participants returning with their neighbors or relatives, sometimes with their daughters who serve as important caregivers. “We want everyone in Tarrant County to feel that they can join one of these sessions or reach out for a special class for your group.”
About James L. West
James L. West is a faith inspired, not-for-profit organization serving persons impacted by dementia. The West Center provides residential care for persons at all levels and all types of dementia, a Senior Adult Day Program, and an extensive professional and family caregiver dementia education programs.