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Cleveland Alzheimer’s Association works to reach Northeast Ohio’s African American community

Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 4:47 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Rosetta Moore has been married to her husband, Booker, for 45 years.

For the past 13 of those years, she’s been his caregiver as Booker battles with Alzheimer’s disease.

“It was kind of blunt thing for me because the doctor just said his short-term memory is gone, his long-term memory is good, You need to make funeral arrangements,” said Moore.

Moore says she was shocked to hear her husband had Alzheimer’s because she didn’t think it was a common disease within the African American community.

“I also learned that especially with African Americans we are more in denial than anything, it’s never classified as Alzheimer’s. It’s always old folks, when they get old, they get this disease,” she said.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, African Americans are actually twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s or dementia compared to their white counterparts.

They are also more likely to be diagnosed in the later stages of the disease.

Moore says, as a caregiver, she feels it’s her duty to encourage those in the Black community to get help sooner rather than later.

“First of all, come out of denial,” she said. “Have your relatives diagnosed by a professional, and then deal with the situation because there are some medications that people can take that help them.”

Moore also recommends reaching out to the Cleveland area Alzheimer’s Association for help.

Linsday Walker who runs the organization says they recently hired someone who will go out in the local African American and Hispanic communities to help get the right information out about the disease.

“That is a huge, big win for us to have someone focused 100% on the diverse communities,” said Walker.

The association also just added a new program for Spanish speakers.

“That’s our job is to get out to the communities so they know where to go and who they know to trust,” said Walker.

Meanwhile, Rosetta Moore says Alzheimer’s can affect everyone — no matter race — so don’t be afraid to say you or a loved one has the disease.

“The information regarding dementia or Alzheimer’s is out there, all you have to do is dial the number and say help,” Moore added.

You can reach the Alzheimer’s Association Cleveland Area Chapter at 800-272-3900.

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