Social Justice, Health Disparities, and Culture in the Care of the Elderly
Article first published online: 27 MAR 2012
© 2012 American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Inc.
The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics
Volume 40, Issue 1, pages 26–32, Spring 2012
How to Cite
Dilworth-Anderson, P., Pierre, G. and Hilliard, T. S. (2012), Social Justice, Health Disparities, and Culture in the Care of the Elderly. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 40: 26–32. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-720X.2012.00642.x
- Issue published online: 27 MAR 2012
- Article first published online: 27 MAR 2012
Older minority Americans experience worse health outcomes than their white counterparts, exhibiting the need for social justice in all areas of their health care. Justice, fairness, and equity are crucial to minimizing conditions that adversely affect the health of individuals and communities. In this paper, Alzheimer's disease (AD) is used as an example of a health care disparity among elderly Americans that requires social justice interventions. Cultural factors play a crucial role in AD screening, diagnosis, and access to care, and are often a barrier to support and equality for minority communities. The “conundrum of health disparities” refers to the interplay between disparity, social justice, and cultural interpretation, and encourages researchers to understand both (1) disparity caused by economic and structural barriers to access, treatment, and diagnosis, and (2) disparity due to cultural interpretation of disease, in order to effectively address health care issues and concerns among elderly Americans.