The Cleveland Alzheimer’s Association strives to reach out to the African American community of Northeast Ohio

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – Rosetta Moore has been married to her husband, Booker, for 45 years.

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

“It was a little brutal for me because the doctor just said her short term memory is gone, her long term memory is good, you have to make arrangements for the funeral,” Moore said.

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

“I’ve also learned that especially with African Americans we’re more in denial than anything, it’s never classified as Alzheimer’s. It’s always the elderly, when they get older they contract this disease, ”she said.

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

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

Moore says that as a caregiver, she feels it is her duty to encourage members of the black community to get help as soon as possible.

“First of all, get out of denial,” she said. “Have your loved ones diagnosed by a professional, then deal with the situation because there are medicines people can take to help them. “

Moore also recommends contacting the Alzheimer’s Association of the Cleveland area for assistance.

Linsday Walker, who heads the organization, says they recently hired someone who will go into local African American and Hispanic communities to help spread the right information about the disease.

“It’s a huge, big victory for us to have someone who is 100% focused on diverse communities,” Walker said.

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

“It’s our job, it’s to get into the communities so they know where to go and who they can trust,” Walker said.

Meanwhile, Rosetta Moore says Alzheimer’s disease can affect anyone, regardless of race, so don’t be afraid to say that you or someone you care about has the disease.

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

You can reach the Cleveland area chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association at 800-272-3900.

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