Cognitive Rehabilitation for Maintenance of Function in Latinos with Dementia

  • Shawneen R. PazienzaEmail author
  • Erin E. Andrews


Numerous health, cultural, and socioeconomic factors are associated with dementia in older adult Latinos, a rapidly growing demographic in the United States (U.S.). Dementia involves significant cognitive deficits that interfere with daily functioning. Cognitive rehabilitation is an important intervention that can prevent, delay, mediate, or repair aspects of cognitive deterioration through changes in brain pathways, or neuroplasticity, especially in those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and mild to moderate diagnoses of dementia. However, there is scant research as to how Latinos with dementia can best benefit from cognitive rehabilitation. Latinos are underrepresented in research participant samples of dementia patients, and the results of cognitive rehabilitation trials involving other types of neurocognitive issues (i.e., traumatic brain injury, cerebrovascular accident) are not always generalizable to dementia. Despite this, it is well established that culture can affect patients’ experience and understanding of their impairment, expectations, engagement, and progress in rehabilitation. By applying Latino cultural strengths, Latino patients with dementia can benefit from an individually and culturally tailored cognitive rehabilitation treatment plan. Without engaging in stereotyping and with full awareness of the rich within-group diversity among Latinos, there are several cultural concepts that are central to Latino communities that should be considered within the context of cognitive rehabilitation for treatment of dementia, including family/familismo, respect/respeto, personal relationship/personalismo, trust/confianza, spirit/espiritu, and presence/presentismo, among others. Integration of these important cultural implications can lead to optimal treatment outcomes for Latinos with dementia.


Caregivers Cognitive Rehabilitation Culture Dementia Latinos 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Central Texas Veterans Health Care SystemAustinUSA
  2. 2.Central Texas Veterans Health Care SystemUniversity of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of MedicineAustinUSA

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