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Ethnic disparity seen in institutionalizing elders

Last Updated: 2004-07-12 8:00:30 -0400 (Reuters Health)

By Merritt McKinney

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Hispanic women who care for older relatives with dementia may delay placing their relatives in nursing homes longer than white caregivers, new research suggests.

Cultural values and attitudes toward caregiving may help explain some of the differences, researchers say.

Taking care of a relative with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia can put a heavy burden on caregivers. Eventually, most people with dementia are placed in a nursing home or other long-term-care institution.

But most studies on the institutionalization of people with dementia have focused on non-Hispanic whites. There is some evidence that Latino caregivers wait longer before placing their loved ones in an institution.

To look at the relationship between ethnicity and care of people with dementia, a team led by Dr. Dolores Gallagher-Thompson at Stanford University School of Medicine and VA Palo Alto Health Care System in California studied 264 women who were caring for a loved one with dementia. Of the women, 154 were Caucasian and 110 were Latinas.

Article: http://www.reutershealth.com/archive/2004/07/12/eline/links/20040712elin003.html