Study Offers Free Telehealth Therapy for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers


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Often, Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers put the needs of the person they are caring for above their own — neglecting their physical, emotional, and mental health in the process.  

While seen as a selfless act, when left unchecked, it can lead to depression.  

That’s why researchers at Texas Tech University are giving informal caregivers caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s and dementia an opportunity to reduce their stress levels by offering free telehealth therapy.  

As part of the research study, eligible participants will meet once a week for 12-16 sessions with a therapist and fill out questionnaires and surveys before, during, and after therapy.  

These surveys are spaced out and only take 30 to 45 minutes to complete online, by mail, or over the phone with a research assistant.  

Participants will earn $5 for every therapy session they complete.  

For more information about the study or to learn how to participate, contact Dr. Jonathan Singer at (806) 834-5884 or 

Latino Caregiver Stress 

There is a lot of responsibility placed on caregivers taking care of individuals with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.  

Caregivers often worry about care expenses, coordinating care with multiple medical professionals, scheduling appointments, getting prescriptions, understanding the ins and outs of the disease, which includes treatments, and finding reliable transportation to and from appointments, according to the new report from the Alzheimer’s Association. 

The burden can be taxing and cause a lot of stress for the caregiver, who may endure the brunt of caregiving on their own with few resources and no help from a patient navigator.  

That is true for many Latino caregivers. 

Latinos make up 21% of all family caregivers in the US, according to the National Institutes of Health. 

Ethnic minority caregivers, including Latinos, have more care demands, less outside help, and experience greater depression compared to white caregivers, according to the Alzheimer’s Association report. 

One of the top stressors for Latino caregivers is coordinating care, with 71% feeling stressed by the task. 57% of Latino caregivers have expressed difficulties and challenges with care coordination, and 70% have issues finding support for caregiver needs (compared with 52% Black, 66% white, and 77% Asian American), according to the report. 

Latino caregivers also stress over costs and expenses (42%), finding adequate care, understanding recommended treatments, and finding respite care.  

Easing the Stress of Latino Caregiver 

Telehealth therapy, like the study at Texas Tech, aims to help caregivers. 

Along with therapy, a patient navigator program is another way to tackle caregiver stress.  

Patient navigators help caregivers and patients find resources, clinical trials, treatments, and more that can lead to better health outcomes.  

62% of caregivers surveyed by the Alzheimer’s Association said a patient navigator program would reduce stress and give them peace of mind.  

Respondents also believe that patient navigators can also help target other areas of stress such as improving mental health (45%), allowing for breaks from caregiving (38%), and helping to improve physical wellbeing of the caregiver (25%).  

Research at a Distance  

Ethnic minorities, including Latinos, continue to be underrepresented in scientific research.   

Less diversity in research studies means a limited understanding of how outside factors determine someone’s health or how certain therapies may work to alleviate symptoms of chronic health conditions and diseases for different populations. 

There are many barriers to research participation, including a distrust of research, a lack of understanding, time constraints, and dealing with adverse effects from treatment. 

However, one of the biggest barriers is access to reliable transportation.  

With this knowledge, more researchers are attempting to conduct research from a distance to reach those who have slipped through the cracks. 

Using advancements in technology such as telehealth, research participants do not even have to leave their homes to make a difference. 

Therapies like the one offered by Texas Tech University and a survey-focused study on advanced cancer in Latinos are making it possible to participate from the comfort of their own home.  

Meanwhile other data collection efforts such as the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program are taking a two-step approach to research.  

The first part involves consent forms and surveys, which can be done at home, and are followed up by a quick trip to your local blood bank for a bio sample.  

That quick trip can result in a more diverse data network for researchers to make life-changing discoveries and help us understand how certain factors impact health and diseases. 

To learn more about the All of Us Research Program or to join visit their website today! 




Participate in a Clinical Trial 

Like research studies, clinical trials – studies with volunteers that test ways to find, prevent, and treat cancer and other diseases – see few diverse participants.  

In fact, some published studies even include a disclaimer stating that the population of clinical trial participants wasn’t diverse enough to gather concrete results for certain groups.  

Without diverse participation there is no way of knowing how a treatment or other intervention may work or how a person who is part of the underrepresented population may respond to it. 

The Latino community is one such group underrepresented in clinical trials. 

Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez of Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio is on a mission to boost Latino participation in clinical trials. 

With help from Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, she’s unlocking new ways to encourage Latino cancer and Alzheimer’s clinical trial volunteers.  

Ramirez does this by highlighting open clinical trials and featuring stories of Latino trial volunteers on the Salud America!  website. 

She also spreads awareness through social media events and webinars 

“Latinos in clinical trials are not only helping themselves, but they are also building a future with better treatments that can help their families and communities in the future,” Ramirez said. 

To find a clinical trial, visit the Salud America! clinical trials page 

In San Antonio, search the Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio’s Find a Clinical Trial database to learn more about available clinical trials and eligibility requirements.

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