One Out of Six Millennial Caregivers Looks After Someone with Dementia

December 9, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

One out of six millennial caregivers looks after someone with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, and the number is expected to grow, according to a report released Monday by researchers at the University of Southern California. The study, “Millennials and Dementia Caregiving in the United States,” issued by the USC Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging and UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, concludes that more millennials and young Americans are expected to face caregiving responsibilities in the future because the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is expected to reach nearly 16 million in the U.S. by 2050 from 5 million today.

“Caregiving to family members with dementia can be a full-time job,” said Maria Aranda, associate professor and interim executive director at the USC Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging. “Caring for the millennial caregiver is a societal investment with the potential of delaying family burdens and healthcare costs in the future.”

Increasing numbers of millennials — those born from 1980 to 1998 — are expected to face caregiving responsibilities in the future as the number of patients rises.

The analysis provides information about the characteristics of millennials caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, examines the caregiving activities they perform and the burden they experience through caregiving, and how their caregiving activities interfere with their workforce participation. The report also makes policy and programmatic recommendations for addressing those challenges.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. Like other dementias, it is characterized by a profound deterioration in memory, language and communication abilities, problem-solving capabilities and other aspects of cognition that affect a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. Research suggests that Alzheimer’s may be the third-leading cause of death among older adults.

Among the report’s findings:
— roughly 42 percent of millennial dementia caregivers are sole care providers and the overwhelming majority reported that accessing affordable outside help was very difficult;
— most millennial dementia caregivers do not live in the same household with the person they care for, and 16 percent had to travel more than an hour to provide care;
— the most common caregiving activities include helping with transportation, shopping, and communicating with doctors;
— caregivers feel emotional distress is a major burden and want more help in dealing with this issue; and
— about one out of two millennial dementia caregivers said looking after patients interfered with work, and 33 percent reported consequences led to losing job benefits or termination, among other impacts.

USC Program Helping Deaf, Hard of Hearing Children from Bilingual Homes

August 4, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“Come read with me.”

Those can be some of the most powerful words in the development of any child’s ability to read and write. For children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing and living in bilingual homes, the “come read with me” invitation becomes even more crucial to their literacy development.

That’s why the USC Caruso Family Center for Childhood Communication is getting creative in tackling challenges that children with hearing loss face in learning to listen, talk, read and write. Its innovative program – called “Come Read with Me” – is an intensive three-week summer intervention and grant-funded research project designed to help develop early literacy skills in oral deaf and hard-of-hearing children from bilingual (Spanish-English) homes.

Through the program, USC seeks to support everyone involved in a child’s education – the children, their parents, and teachers of the deaf and hard-of-hearing in the greater Los Angeles area.

The program is the creation of a interdisciplinary team of experts: educational specialist Debra K. Schrader, audiologist Karen C. Johnson, speech language pathologist Dianne Hammes Ganguly, and biostatistician Laurel M. Fisher. From 2013 to present, Come Read with Me has over 50 children from ages 4.5 to 8 years, 41 parents and caregivers from homes in which Spanish is spoken by at least one parent, and 16 full-time teachers and language specialists in special education programs and private practice. The program primarily serves families and educators in Los Angeles and surrounding area.

The results are promising.


Children Become Active Readers and Writers

During the summer session, children receive daily lessons in shared reading, dialogic reading, writing and awareness of the sounds of speech. They learn concepts of print and word knowledge developed through interactions with peers, parents, and teachers.

Parents say their kids are more engaged in both reading and writing at home. After a three-week session, children demonstrate increased conversational turn-taking during reading activities and more purposeful interaction during writing activities.


Parents Become Change-Agents

Parents receive 12 hours of group instruction on how to develop their children’s reading and writing at home. With this knowledge, they start viewing themselves as change agents who can actively help their children gain literacy skills. They share their new strategies with other parents, and many families have returned for another summer in the program.

“Parents are hungry for information and knowledge,” said Johnson, who is principal investigator of the research project and an associate professor of clinical otolaryngology at the Keck School of Medicine. “Their enthusiasm is inspiring. As one mother told us: ‘I think I get it – books are where my daughter will gain her wisdom.’”

The late chair of the USC Caruso Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, John K. Niparko, MD, who championed this program from the start, had noted instances of deaf children using their new literacy skills to teach others in their family to read.


Teachers Feel More Prepared

Teachers report feeling more equipped to help deaf and hard-of-hearing students in the classroom. They receive five days of professional development designed to give them new strategies in teaching phonological awareness, shared reading, and writing. They also benefit from daily coaching and mentoring during the summer program.

“Teachers are taking this to the classroom and to their peers,” said Schrader. “Participants have started sharing their new knowledge with other teachers through professional development at their schools. This is such an effective way to support greater language and literacy acquisition.”

“Come Read with Me is having a ripple effect,” said Dianne Hammes Ganguly. “Children are more engaged in reading and writing activities. Parents are learning new ways to help their children become better readers and writers. And teachers are gaining additional skills in helping parents and children during this learning process. Supporting all three groups is critical to child success.”

In the words of one of the parents, Come Read with Me has made words “sparkle” for her son.

The 2016 summer session concluded last week. For more information, go to .


USC Study Looks at Cancer Risk in Latinos

December 31, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

In what is billed as a first study of its kind, USC researchers announced Monday that they have found that colorectal cancer risk in Latinos throughout California varies widely depending on their nation of origin.
Latinos are the largest and fastest growing minority ethnic group in America. Some 14.7 million Latinos living in California represent 38.4 percent of the state’s population and 27 percent of the entire U.S. Latino population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Hispanics are a very heterogeneous population, which is not really recognized in most cancer studies,” said lead author Mariana Stern, a cancer epidemiologist and associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
“Their risk factors might be different; their clinical characteristics could be different. We have to zoom into these observations and understand these disparities because they may affect how patients are educated about the disease and how they are treated by doctors.
Using California Cancer Registry data, USC researchers examined the profiles of 36,133 Latinos and 174,710 whites who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 1995 and 2011.
Latinos were further identified by their country, region or commonwealth of origin: Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Central or South America, or not specified. USC researchers hope to use the study to pave the road toward personalized cancer care.
Here are the specific findings:
— Latinos from Mexico have the lowest chance of getting colorectal cancer when compared to other Latino subgroups;
— More Mexicans — 20 percent — and Central or South Americans — 20 percent — were diagnosed with colorectal cancer before age 50 compared to other Latino subgroups
– Among Latinos in California, Cuban colorectal cancer patients had the highest proportion of deaths — 63 percent — followed by Puerto Ricans — 58 percent; and
— Mexicans had a higher percentage of rectal cancer — 35 percent — than other Latino subgroups.
“We have pioneered surveillance of ethnic differences in cancer risk,” said senior author Lihua Liu, assistant professor of clinical preventive medicine at Keck Medicine of USC and a research scientist in the Los Angeles Cancer Surveillance Program.
“We have previously shown dramatic differences in cancer risk among Asian subgroups.”
She added, “It’s time to also examine the heterogeneity within Latinos.”

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