Asian Americans are less likely than other groups to have Alzheimer's. Only 18% of Asian Americans are aware of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which can be an early stage of Alzheimer's. This can make it harder for individuals or families to recognize the symptoms and seek professional care. Learn what the Alzheimer's Association is doing to address health disparities and provide support for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders living with Alzheimer's or other dementia.

Quick facts

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One in four (25%) of Asian Americans report a lack of family support as a barrier.

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Almost half (45%) of Asian Americans believe that medical research is biased against people of color.

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Only 12% of Asian Americans report that they have no barriers to excellent Alzheimer's and dementia care.

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More than half (56%) of Asian Americans believe that significant loss of memory or cognitive (such as thinking or learning) ability is a normal part of aging. 

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Almost half (46%) of Asian Americans say that they are concerned about developing Alzheimer's or dementia.


For more information, please see our special 2021 report on Race, Ethnicity and Alzheimer's in America.

Interested in learning about research studies?

The Collaborative Approach for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Research and Education (CARE) Registry is enrolling Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who are interested in participating in clinical research studies. 

Join the Registry

Asian Americans at risk

Only 18% of Asian Americans are aware of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which makes it harder for individuals or families to recognize the symptoms and seek professional care. 

Research suggests that Asian Americans are less likely than other racial groups to develop Alzheimer's or other dementia, but additional research is necessary to understand prevalence of the disease in this community.

However, Korean Americans may be at risk of Alzheimer's through lifestyle factors, such as high levels of alcohol and tobacco use. Language barriers for some Korean Americans may limit access to health care and health insurance.

This video from the National Institutes of Health features interviews on the gaps in access to care for Alzheimer's and other dementia among Asian Americans. Oanh Meyer, Ph.D., researches cultural barriers to care. For example, most physician offices and medical or legal paperwork lists people by personal name first, family name second. Among immigrants from cultures who say family name first, personal name second, such as Vietnamese, this can create confusion.

Korean American journalist, CNN correspondent and Alzheimer's Association Celebrity Champion Amara Walker raises Alzheimer's awareness by sharing her family's personal story. Read Amara's story, in her own words​.

Dr. Oanh Meyer is an associate adjunct professor and principal investigator with the Diversity and Disparities Lab at the Alzheimer's Disease Center, University of California - Davis. She studies cognitive and mental health disparities in racial/ethnic minorities and older adults. In an interview with Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Dr. Carl V. Hill, she describes her current research on links between trauma and dementia in the Vietnamese community.  
 

Perceptions of clinical trials

Almost all (93%) of Asian Americans trust health care providers.

Slightly over half (54%) of Asian Americans who are not interested in participating in clinical research say that they do not want to be "guinea pigs." The second most common reason (43%) was time and cost, followed by 32% concerned that the treatment might cause illness. However, participating in clinical trials can help participants by giving them advanced access to potential treatments. It also helps ensure that clinical trials are representative of all racial and ethnic groups.

For more information, please see our special 2021 report on Race, Ethnicity and Alzheimer's in America.
 

Serving the community

At the Alzheimer's Association, we believe that diverse perspectives are critical to achieving health equity — meaning that all communities have a fair and just opportunity for early diagnosis and access to risk reduction and quality care. The Association is committed to engaging underrepresented and underserved communities and responding with resources and education to address the disproportionate impact of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

There are many ways to strengthen services for Asian Americans living with or at risk of Alzheimer's and other dementia, outlined in the report Strengthening Community-Based Services for Asian American and Pacific Islanders Affected by Dementia. Kathy Lee, Ph.D., is developing an app for informal caregivers, inspired by apps that are popular among Asian Americans.

Van Ta Park Ph.D., notes the importance of understanding unique cultural groups within the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Asian Americans may have origins in any of the 48 countries that comprise Asia, and there are significant cultural differences within these countries. The Alzheimer's Association offers some additional information on Alzheimer's, seeking medical care and caregiving in Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese.

Volunteer Alzheimer's educator Joanne Hsu, of Tzu Chi, an Alzheimer's Association partner, shares her personal Alzheimer's story and why education is key to reaching Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in need of resources and support. Read her story.
 

Association partnerships

The Alzheimer's Association actively partners with aligned organizations to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in Alzheimer's prevention and treatment. Our partners dedicating to serving the Asian American and Pacific Islander community include: Learn more about the Association’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and about its partnerships.