Nov 10, 2022 - Health

Alzheimer’s Association launches PSA with singer Luis Fonsi

Luis Fonsi holds a microphone to his mouth

Luis Fonsi performing in Spain in August. Photo: Cristina Andina/Redferns via Getty Images

Singer Luis Fonsi is urging Latinos to join him in breaking down the community's stigma around Alzheimer’s, a disease that has hit close to home since his abuelita’s diagnosis.

Why it matters: Latinos are projected to have the steepest increase in Alzheimer’s diagnoses over the next 40 years, but shame can keep many from seeking care, said Yarissa Reyes, who heads Latino outreach for the Alzheimer’s Association.

  • The expectation to “keep everything inside in the Latino community” can often mean the caregiving falls on family members, Reyes tells Axios.
  • “So having someone like Luis lend his voice to the cause and tell people, ‘Hey, you don’t have to do this alone. There are resources available and here’s where you can find them?’ That’s huge for our community.”

Driving the news: Fonsi on Thursday released public service announcements in Spanish and English through his partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association.

  • In May, the Grammy Award-winning singer became the first Latino artist to join the health organization’s “Music Moments,” a storytelling series dedicated to raising awareness of the disease.

By the numbers: Roughly 1 in 8 Latinos ages 65 and older has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

  • The health organization estimates that Latinos are 1.5 times more likely than their white counterparts to have dementia.
  • Nearly 60% of Latinos in the U.S. also believe the significant loss of cognitive function — as seen in Alzheimer’s — is a normal part of aging. Reyes says it’s not.
  • But despite the disproportionate impact, Latinos are chronically absent from the clinical trials of drugs that could treat the disease, accounting for less than 1% of participants.

What they’re saying: “I’m personally still learning so much,” Fonsi says in the PSA. “I would say to those people who have loved ones who are going through it, don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to get help."

  • “No one should face Alzheimer’s or other dementias alone.”

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