Among Black Americans ages 70 and older, 21.3% are living with Alzheimer's, a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior. Learn what the Alzheimer's Association is doing to provide care and support and address disparities for African Americans living with Alzheimer's or another dementia.
While older Black Americans are twice as likely as older Whites to have Alzheimer's or another dementia, research hasn't yet identified the cause. Higher rates of cardiovascular (heart and blood vessels) disease may play a role. Some studies indicate that after correcting for overall health and socioeconomic status, these differences disappear.
Only 20% of Black Americans say that they have no barriers to excellent health care and support for Alzheimer's or other dementias.
Half of Black Americans say that they have experienced discrimination while seeking care for a person living with Alzheimer's.
Only 48% of Black Americans
report being confident they can access culturally competent care.
Only 53% of Black Americans believe that a cure for Alzheimer's will be distributed fairly, without regard to race, color or ethnicity.
Only 35% of Black Americans say that they are concerned about Alzheimer's or dementia.
65% of Black Americans say that they know somebody with Alzheimer's or dementia.
55% of Black Americans think that significant loss of cognitive abilities or memory is a natural part of aging rather than a disease.
For more information, please see the Association's Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures special report on Race, Ethnicity and Alzheimer's in America (PDF).
Find care and support
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or another dementia, you are not alone. The Alzheimer's Association is the trusted resource for reliable information, education, referral and support to millions of people affected by the disease.
10 signs of Alzheimer’s
Learn the difference between symptoms of the disease and age-related changes.
Understand the Signs
Resources for people living with Alzheimer’s: Learn more about your diagnosis, what to expect and ways to navigate everyday life at each stage of the disease.
Resources for caregivers: Learn how to prepare for caregiving and sustaining your own mental, physical and emotional health.
Participate in a clinical trial
Another way to take an active role in the health care of someone living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia is to participate in clinical trials
, or research studies conducted with human volunteers to determine whether treatments are safe and effective.
Among Black Americans, a history of exclusion from medical trials and a lasting history of discrimination from the medical establishment, including but not limited to the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study, contribute to high levels of mistrust of clinical trials. Nearly two-thirds of Black Americans (62%) believe that medical research is biased against people of color.
In Alzheimer's & Dementia Conversations: Changing the Face of Research, a webinar hosted by Beverly Berry from the Alzheimer's Association, three expert panelists discuss how to build trust and remove barriers to greater Black participation in research. It features the Rev. Dr. Ruben Warren, former director of the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care; the Rev Dr. Ann Marie Bentsi-Addison, senior director of faith-based initiatives at NYC Health + Hospitals; and the Rev. Dr. Miriam J. Burnett, medical director for the International Health Commission of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Volunteering for a research study may benefit you directly and help researchers find a new treatment or a cure. Learn more about participating in research studies and finding a clinical trial that makes sense for you.
More on clinical trials:
- New IDEAS: a new clinical study from the Alzheimer's Association and the American College of Radiology on mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia. At least 4,000 of the planned 7,000 New IDEAS participants will be Black or African American and Hispanic or Latino.
- TrialMatch: a free and private Alzheimer’s Association tool that connects individuals living with Alzheimer's, caregivers and healthy volunteers to clinical trials.
- Addressing Stigmas and Breaking Barriers: Register for the Feb. 23 webinar that will feature panelists discussing trial participation and health inequities.
- Alzheimer's and athletes: a blog post from author, researcher and former NFL player, Dr. Robert W. Turner II describing the impact of dementia on his family, his work as lead researcher for the Brain Health & Aging Study and how the Alzheimer's Association's partnerships are helping to advance research.
Volunteer in your community
Unforgettable: A play about the lived experience of Alzheimer's
"Unforgettable" shows how a Black American family comes together when the grandmother develops signs of dementia.
Learn About the Play
You can help people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia and their caregivers by becoming a volunteer
. There is a range of community-based roles where you can lend support, such as:
- Community educator.
- Faith outreach representative.
- Public policy advocate.
- Event volunteer.
- And more.
Learn about the volunteer opportunities
at the Alzheimer's Association.
Watch these panel discussions from the Association's Northern California and Northern Nevada chapters about the experiences of Black men and women living with dementia and their caregivers: Black Men and Dementia
and Black Women and Dementia: Two Sides of the Story
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.
The Alzheimer's Association strategically partners with national and local organizations to advance health equity, access to Association resources and inclusion in the fight to end Alzheimer’s. Partnerships dedicated to serving Black Americans include medical associations, faith-based organizations, Black Greek Letter Organizations and more. Learn more about our partners and partnerships as part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Help is available
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or another dementia, you are not alone. The Alzheimer's Association is the trusted resource for reliable information, education, referral and support to millions of people affected by the disease.