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MANSFIELD ꟷ The NECIC Neighborhood Community Outreach Center will be the location of an Alzheimer’s Association Community Forum designed to hear the needs and barriers confronting Blacks seeking Alzheimer’s diagnosis and care. 

The Alzheimer’s Association Northwest Ohio Chapter invites Mansfield and Richland County residents to take part in the Community Forum, which will be held from 5-6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3. The community center is located at 486 Springmill St., Mansfield. The event is free, but preregistration is required.

Pam Myers, Program Director for the Alzheimer’s Association Northwest Ohio Chapter, said, "We know that Blacks are about twice as likely as White Americans to have Alzheimer’s or another dementia. We also know that while Blacks are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than Whites, they are less likely to have a diagnosis.

"A delay in diagnosis could mean that Blacks with Alzheimer’s and other dementias may miss the opportunity to make important legal, financial and care plans while they are still capable, and make their preferences known to their families.”

The Alzheimer’s Association reported in its 2021 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures that 36 percent of Blacks believe discrimination would be a barrier to receiving Alzheimer’s care, and 50 percent reported they have experienced health care discrimination.

The Alzheimer’s Community Forum is a town hall-style meeting that gathers communities in a comfortable neutral setting so that Alzheimer’s staff can learn about real-life experiences of people impacted by the disease.

Myers said anyone with an interest in or experience with Alzheimer’s or other dementias is invited to attend, including business and community leaders; affected individuals; family members and caregivers; faith leaders; hospitals; and volunteer organizations. To preregister, individuals should call the Alzheimer’s Association through its 24/7 helpline at 800.272.3900.

For the safety of attendees, volunteers, and staff, the Alzheimer’s Association follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and all participants must wear a mask at all indoor programs regardless of vaccination status.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive and fatal brain disease that kills nerve cells and tissues in the brain, affecting an individual’s ability to remember, think and plan. During the pandemic, the Alzheimer’s Association has continued to offer education programs, personalized care consultations and support groups to families impacted by the disease. It is estimated that Alzheimer’s and dementia deaths have increased 16 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alzheimer’s disease is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. But according to the National Institute on Aging, recent estimates indicate Alzheimer’s disease may rank third, just behind heart disease and cancer, as a cause of death for older people. Individuals can reach the Alzheimer’s Association through its 24/7 helpline at 800.272.3900.

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