The idea of going back to the sex that was assigned at birth is just so unthinkable for many trans people that some plan to die by suicide before dementia sets in or before they go into a long-term care setting.
Ames Simmons, Senior Lecturing Fellow at Duke University

While information on Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and cognitive impairment in transgender adults is lacking, research shows that they tend to face more health disparities that are known risk factors for dementia, such as depression, hearing loss, sleep disorders, high cholesterol, and alcohol use disorder. 

Moreover, the social injustices encountered by transgender adults also correlate to higher chances of cognitive impairment. This highlights the need for increased attention to the unique health challenges faced by the transgender community. 

Additionally, it is important to create policies that promote safer and more inclusive environments where transgender adults can access the quality healthcare they need.

Get pumped to learn about Dementia in Transgender People on the latest episode of This Is Getting Old: Moving Towards an Age-Friendly World! Our incredible guest Ames Simmons, Senior Lecturing Fellow at Duke University, is here to share some eye-opening insights that will make you think twice about aging and identity.

Honestly, this chat is a game-changer for anyone who values having their voice heard and their freedoms safeguarded. You won’t want to miss it!

Key points covered in this episode:

✔️ Bridging LGBTQ Health Policy and Activism: The Ames Simmons Way

Get ready to meet Ames Simmons, the brilliant, queer, white, and transgender man teaching at Duke University School of Law. Not content with two degrees, he’s pursuing a graduate certificate in LGBT Health Policy & Practice at George Washington University. 

But that’s just the beginning. Ames is dedicated to community-based anti-racism, anti-violence, and anti-poverty efforts to achieve justice and collective liberation for transgender people everywhere. 

With years of experience as a policy director at the National Center for Transgender Equality and Equality North Carolina, he’s a seasoned expert in enacting meaningful change. Plus, he’s even helped uninsured patients access Medicaid during his time at a healthcare company.

If you’re not impressed yet, Ames also earned his Juris Doctor degree from Emory University Law School after attending Agnes Scott College. In short, this rockstar is an inspiration to us all!

✔️ Mind Matters: The Struggle with Cognitive Decline Among Transgender People

Transgender folks are almost six times more likely to experience cognitive decline than their cisgender counterparts. 

And for those who are transgender and a person of color? The stress of multiple marginalized identities means they’re dealing with an even greater chance of cognitive decline. It’s time to acknowledge and address the mental health disparities facing the trans community. 

✔️ The Double Whammy: How Aging and Transgender Identity Intersect

Gender identity and dementia are two topics that don’t often come up in the same conversation. But what happens when they do? Surprisingly little is known about how this neurological condition can affect someone’s sense of self. It’s possible that dementia could bring about a newfound gender fluidity or even cause someone to forget they’ve undergone gender-affirming procedures. It’s a puzzling and sensitive issue that deserves more attention and understanding.

✔️ Forget-Me-Not: Memory Loss in the Transgender Community

A report from the Pride Study found that older trans adults who had experienced transgender-related discrimination were seven and a half times more likely to report poor or fair memory. Also, 1 in 2 transgender people reports mistreatment by a healthcare provider, so fear and anxiety about losing their sense of agency due to dementia is high.

✔️ “Perceived Powerlessness Feedback Loop”

Trans people fear being discriminated against and receiving worse treatment in long-term care due to past experiences with healthcare discrimination. It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be broken. Let’s ensure everyone, regardless of gender identity, receives the respect and care they deserve.

✔️ Beyond the Statistics: Transgender People Have Higher Suicide Risk

The idea of going back to the sex that was assigned at birth is just so unthinkable for many trans people that some plan to die by suicide before dementia sets in or before they go into a long-term care setting. This fear is not unfounded; studies have shown that transgender people are more likely to attempt suicide than their cisgender peers. 

It’s essential that we provide intensive mental health support to help these individuals thrive in a safer and affirming environment.

We also need to recognize that long-term care for trans people requires person-centered care  that considers the unique needs of transgender people. 

✔️ Dementia Doesn’t Discriminate—and Neither Should We 

Let’s raise awareness and support for Dementia in Transgender People because everyone deserves compassionate care and understanding. Remember, our identities may change, but our humanity remains the same.

✔️ Say Goodbye to Lone Battles: Get Help With One Click

Howdy, healthcare heroes and fabulous LGBTQ+ folks! Don’t fret if you’re a bit confused about dementia and transgender topics. We’ve got your back with some mighty useful resources. Take a peek, and let us help you out!

✔️ Looking To Reach Out To Ames? 

Hey there, darling! Have no fear; the solution is easy peasy lemon squeezy. All you gotta do is fire off an email to simmons@law.duke.edu. If you want to stay in the know and sneak a peek at what Ames is up to, scope out his socials on Facebook, Twitter, and  Instagram. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn to keep the party going. Keep shining bright like a diamond!

If you have questions, or comments or need help, please feel free to drop a one-minute audio or video clip and email it to me at melissabphd@gmail.com, and I will get back to you by recording an answer to your question. 

More Resources About Memory And Alzheimer’s Disease …

This Is Getting Old has several other episodes about memory and Alzheimer’s. You can check them out below:

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About Melissa:

Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN. I am a nurse, nurse practitioner, nurse educator and nurse researcher with over 25 years of experience in the aging and long-term care healthcare space. You can visit my website at MelissaBPhD.com to learn more about me, how you can work with me directly,
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