Local doctor helps create Alzheimer’s Spanish guide to break language barriers

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 12:01 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, but communities of color are more at risk.

The Latino community is 1.5 times more likely to develop the disease than white non-Latinos.

Language barriers prevent some Latino families from being in the know about Alzheimer’s, and local health officials created a Spanish assessment tool to fix it.

Gloria Reyes, Madison resident, calls her father the foundation of her family.

“He really took us through some hard times and never left our family,” she said. “It would have been so easy for him to walk away, but he never left our side.”

Now, Reyes is returning the favor.

“My dad was diagnosed two years ago with Alzheimer’s,” she said.

She hasn’t left his side since.

Reyes noticed her father’s memories were fading and family members were becoming strangers.

“Now he’s to the point where he doesn’t remember our names,” Reyes said. “When you see someone going through a change like this. It’s really really hard.”

She said not being “in the know” makes it that much harder .

“When you’re unaware about the issue and you see the impact of it. You know it’s not easy,” she said. “Particularly communities of color, we just don’t quite have a lot of information around this so I had to learn.”

Dr. Maria Mora-Pinzon, Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute preventative care physician, helped create a Spanish resource to bring clarity to a complex situation. She partnered with UsAgainstAlzheimer’s to help bring resources to communities of color.

“In our community we tend to say things like ‘they’re getting old it’s fine, it’s normal to forget things.’ But some of the early signs are forgetting things,” Mora-Pinzon said.

“My Brain Guide” hosts a quick memory questionnaire to help navigate brain health online and by phone.

“We know that looking for information for Latinos is always very hard,” she said. “It always says ‘information in Spanish, coming soon.’”

But this resource is available now.

Mora-Pinzon said breaking language barriers can change lives.

“You are not alone. We want to help you. We want to find more information to help you and give you the resources that you need,” she said in Spanish.

Visit “My Brain Guide” online or call 855-272-4641 to take a brain health questionnaire.

Visite “My Brain Guide” en línea o llame al 855-272-4641 para tomar un cuestionario de salud cerebral.

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