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Racial/Ethnic Disparities in the Economic Costs of Dementia are Studied by Mudrazija and Colleagues

Posted: 3/13/2024 (CSDE Research)

CSDE Affiliate Stipica Mudrazija (Health Systems and Population Health) authored new research with colleagues in the Journal of Aging and Health, titled “Preclinical Dementia and Economic Well-Being Trajectories of Racially Diverse Older Adults“. This study examined the magnitude, changes, and racial/ethnic disparities in the economic costs of the 16-year preclinical phase of dementia—a period of cognitive decline without significant impact on daily activities. The study utilized two dementia algorithms to classify individuals with incident dementia in the Health and Retirement Study. These cases were compared to matched controls in terms of poverty status, labor force participation, and unsecured debts. Older adults classified with dementia were more likely to drop out of the labor force and become poor than similar older adults without dementia. Racial/ethnic disparities in poverty persisted during the preclinical period, with non-Hispanic Black older adults more likely to leave the labor force and Hispanic older adults more likely to have unsecured debt. Findings highlight the economic costs during prodromal phase of dementia, emphasizing need for early interventions to reduce financial strain across diverse older adults.