My Mother’s Keeper

Latinos caring for their aging parents don’t always get the support they need. There are cultural expectations to care for family members at home, as well as a lack of bilingual services.

We meet a 26-year-old woman who’s been caring for her mother, who has early onset Alzheimer’s disease, since she was 16. Paola had to make decisions about her mother’s finances, while watching her mother lose her ability to feed herself. Paola struggled with depression, and worried that she couldn’t do enough for her mother. As Paola was busy rescuing her mother, in the end, she needed some rescuing herself.

Featured image: Paola and her family (Photo by Eilís O’Neill)

What If I Get Alzheimer’s Too?

Five years ago, Daisy Duarte’s mom started acting a little differently. Her mother had just lost her job, and the family thought it might be depression. But one night, things got a lot more serious and then they learned the diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Latinos Against Alzheimer’s Network, the number of Latinos with Alzheimer’s will grow by well over 600% to 1.3 million by 2050. Daisy realized there was a good chance she might carry the gene too—listen to Daisy’s story about her mom and getting tested for the disease herself.

Featured image: Rodrigo Paredes via FLICKR (Creative Commons)

Living with Alzheimer’s: The Obando Family

As life expectancy increases and the U.S. population goes grayer, more people live longer with degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. This disease is not just tragic, it’s fatal. Right now Alzheimer’s in the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S; it affects more than 5 million Americans, and it’s hitting Latino families with full force. In this piece, we examine the social and cultural factors that place special burdens on Latinos who are directly affected by Alzheimer’s. María Hinojosa spent time with the Obando family in Queens, New York to get a glimpse of what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s. This story is produced by Nusha Balyan, edited by María Emilia Martin, and mixed by Jones Audio Productions. It’s part of a year-long series examining health issues facing Latinos. Latino USA’s year-long look at Latinos and Health is made possible by funding from Pfizer Helpful Answers®, a family of patient assistance programs for the uninsured and underinsured who need help getting Pfizer medicines.

[audio:] Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.