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Asian Americans are less likely than other groups to have 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.

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.  

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 opportunities in the community
Millions of Americans are impacted by Alzheimer’s disease, but you can do something to help by becoming an Alzheimer’s Association volunteer. Our ability to reach and support those affected depends on people like you who are dedicated to the fight against this disease.
The Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter partners with houses of worship to provide meaningful volunteer opportunities for their patrons. The opportunities include Community Educator, Support Group Facilitator, and Community Representative which are detailed below.

Alzheimer's Association Community Educators are volunteer public speakers who provide Alzheimer's Association education programs to community audiences. Community Educators:

  • Deliver approximately 6-12 presentations (in person or virtually) annually using prepared Alzheimer’s Association education programs on a variety of care and support topics
  • Serve as a presenter for chapter education programs and conferences on behalf of their house of worship
  • Connect people with additional Association services and volunteer opportunities by proactively making referrals to Alzheimer's Association programs & free 24/7 Helpline
Support Group Facilitators create a safe, open environment where people share their feelings, thoughts, and experiences in a combined effort to better cope with and manage the shared problems of dementia. Support Group Facilitators:
  • Facilitate groups of caregivers or people living with dementia to provide social and educational support helping group members provide emotional support to one another
  • Present pertinent Association materials and information to group members and assure a positive experience for attendees
  • Connect people with additional Association services and volunteer opportunities by proactively making referrals to Alzheimer's Association programs & free 24/7 Helpline
Alzheimer's Association Community Representatives are community engagers that raise awareness of Alzheimer's Association programs, provide basic disease information, and link consumers to Alzheimer’s Association services. Community Representatives:
  • Represent the Alzheimer's Association at a target of community events/year (in person or virtually) in neighborhoods, rural counties, business and civic organizations, or faith communities
  • Offer 5-20-minute Introduction to Alzheimer’s presentations for community organizations, congregations, civic organizations, sororities/fraternities, clubs, and other locations

If you are interested in learning more about our volunteer opportunities, visit our volunteer page or connect with Amelia Garza at

Literature in Hindi
Know the 10 Signs


Educational Materials in Chinese
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Educational Materials in Korean
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Educational Materials in Japanese
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