Dementia Care in Diverse Older Adults in the U.S. Deep South and the Rest of the United States

Academic Article


  • Background: Use of specialists and recommended drugs has beneficial effects for older adults living with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia (ADRD). Gaps in care may exist for minorities, e.g., Blacks, and especially in the United States (U.S.) Deep South (DS), a poor U.S. region with rising ADRD cases and minority overrepresentation. Currently, we have little understanding of ADRD care utilization in diverse populations in this region and elsewhere in the U.S. (non-DS), and the factors that adversely impact it. Objective: To examine utilization of specialists and ADRD drugs (outcomes) in racial/ethnic groups of older adults with ADRD and the personal or context-level factors affecting these outcomes in DS and non-DS. Methods: We obtained outcomes and personal-level covariates from claims for 127,512 Medicare beneficiaries with ADRD in 2013-2015, and combined county-level data in exploratory factor analysis to define context-level covariates. Adjusted analyses tested significant association of outcomes with Black/White race and other factors in DS and non-DS. Results: Across racial/ethnic groups, 33%-43% in DS and 43%-50% in non-DS used specialists; 47%-55% in DS and 41%-48% in non-DS used ADRD drugs. In adjusted analyses, differences between Blacks and Whites were not significant. Vascular dementia, comorbidities, poverty, and context-level factor 'Availability of Medical Resources' were associated with specialist use; Alzheimer's disease and senile dementia, comorbidities, and specialist use were associated with drug use. In non-DS only, other individual, context-level covariates were associated with the outcomes. Conclusion: We did not observe significant gaps in ADRD care in DS and non-DS; however, research should further examine determinants of low specialist and drug use in these regions.
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    Author List

  • Pisu M; Martin RC; Shan L; Pilonieta G; Kennedy RE; Oates G; Kim YI; Geldmacher DS
  • Start Page

  • 1753
  • End Page

  • 1765
  • Volume

  • 83
  • Issue

  • 4