Shattering Stigma: Tell Your Story for Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

    July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, and at the Diverse Elders Coalition, we’re working to shine a spotlight on the unique mental health needs of our elders of color, American Indian/Alaska Native elders, and LGBTQ elders.

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    Research by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that mental illness affects one in five American adults, yet nearly two-thirds of people with a diagnosable mental illness do not seek treatment. For American Indian/Alaska Native communities, as many as 28% of adults may be living with a mental illness; LGBTQ adults experience even higher rates of mental illness (40%)..... Read More

                 

    Bringing Elders and Youth Together to Learn Language, Life Skills

    I am a huge fan of intergenerational programming. Both children and elders can feel silenced by a world that tends to privilege people of other ages, and there’s something powerful about meeting and learning from the people who’ve come before or the people who will usher in the future. As a teenager in upstate New York, I volunteered most weekends at the assisted living facility where my grandmother resided. It was an opportunity for me to spend more time with my grandma and give back to my community — something that was already starting to feel important in my budding social justice activist soul. I’d help staff run activities in the facility’s large common area or assist with more menial tasks,.... Read More

                 

    Celebrating Our Communities’ History and Future

    May is an exciting month at the Diverse Elders Coalition. Our communities, which are so often left out of mainstream conversations, are highlighted nationally in two different ways during the month of May: not only is it Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which allows our AAPI elders take the spotlight, it is also Older Americans Month, which celebrates the legacies and supports the future of all of our diverse elders. We love seeing the many ways in which our communities are working together to honor each other during May and all throughout the year.

    The theme for this year’s Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month is “Walk Together, Embrace Differences, Build Legacies.” I love this theme, not only because it celebrates.... Read More

                 

    Accelerating Health Equity for Diverse Elders

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    April is National Minority Health Month! We join the US Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health in recognizing the health disparities that continue to affect diverse communities across the United States. Ample research suggests that communities of color in the United States face barriers to health and greater health disparities when compared to white communities, including availability and affordability of healthy food, incidence of diabetes, rates of HIV infection, access to healthcare, and the use and abuse of tobacco and alcohol, just to name a few.

    The stress of our nation’s history of racism and exclusion.... Read More

                 

    Join the Diverse Elders Coalition at this year’s Aging in America Conference

    The Diverse Elders Coalition and all five of our coalition members will be in attendance at the 2016 Aging in America Conference, March 20th through the 24th in Washington, DC. This is one of our favorite annual events, not only because it is one of the biggest in the nation, bringing together policy experts, advocates, and elders to discuss the state of aging research and policy, but also because it’s one of the few opportunities for all of the DEC staff – who are spread across the United States – to be in the same room. As a coalition, we value these connections with our communities – including the members of our own organizations! – and.... Read More

                 

    Supporting Diverse Older Women Seeking Jobs

    I remember reading this article in the New York Times back in January – on New Year’s Day, no less; what a way to kick off 2016! – and thinking about the older women I’ve met and worked with at the Diverse Elders Coalition. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with elders at the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging and the Asian Counseling and Referral Services here in Seattle, and I was fortunate to observe a computer class at SAGE’s Midtown Manhattan Center in New York City when I visited their offices last year. In almost every instance, I heard about the bleak job-hunting prospects for diverse.... Read More

                 

    Ringing in a New Year at the Diverse Elders Coalition

    As we flip our calendars from 2015 to 2016 (assuming you still actually use a paper calendar, that is), I find myself really excited about the initiatives that the Diverse Elders Coalition will be working on in the coming year. This promises to be a milestone year for our elders and their communities, with a presidential election in the balance and the continued “graying” and “browning” of America as our population grows older and more ethnically and racially diverse.

    Here are just a few of the things I’m looking forward to in 2016:

    ACA Enrollment: January 31st is the last day on which Americans can enroll in health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. (Note that members of federally-recognized American.... Read More
                 

    World AIDS Day 2015

    On December 1st, individuals and organizations around the world commemorate World AIDS Day, an acknowledgement of how far we’ve come in fighting this disease and how much work is still to be done to erase stigma, find a cure, and support survivors. The Diverse Elders Coalition has worked since our inauguration in 2010 to lift up the stories of diverse elders with HIV and to raise awareness about the ways in which our communities are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS.

    cupcakesThis year was an important one for the prevention of HIV: in July, the White House released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Updated to 2020 (PDF) that calls for a more coordinated.... Read More

                 

    Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

    November 14-22 marks National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, an opportunity to reflect on the immense number of people in this country who do not have safe, affordable housing or reliable access to healthy meals – many of them diverse elders.

    The Diverse Elders Coalition and its member organizations promote and prioritize the health and well-being – especially as it relates to having a safe place to live and nutritious food to eat – of our communities of color, American Indian/Alaska Native communities, and LGBTQ communities. In our 2012 report “Securing Our Future: Advancing Economic Security for Diverse Elders,” we shared some shocking statistics about the economic insecurity of our communities, many of which still ring true today:

    Nearly.... Read More
                 

    The Affordable Care Act and Diverse Elders

    November 1st marks the beginning of an open enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplace. From now until January 31, 2016, Americans can elect to purchase healthcare coverage from HealthCare.gov for 2016. (American Indian/Alaska Native members of federally recognized tribes can enroll in the Marketplace any time of year and are not subject to this deadline.) Additionally, eight out of ten people who enrolled in a healthcare plan through the Marketplace qualified for financial help to make their monthly premiums more affordable.

    Why do we at the Diverse Elders Coalition care about the ACA and open enrollment? Research shows that people of color, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and LGBT people deal with significant physical and mental health disparities. An older.... Read More

                 

    Supporting our Latin@ Elders with HIV

    Today is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD), and we’re standing with our member organization NHCOA to support our Latin@ elders with HIV and find a cure for this disease.

    nlaad-logo-150x150Why do we have a specific day that acknowledges HIV and AIDS in the Latino community? Myths, stigma, and lack of targeted education makes Latinos less aware of how to protect themselves from the virus. Hispanics are disproportionately affected by HIV: Latinos represent 16% of the U.S. population and 21% of all new HIV infections.

    Further, 1 in 6 people living with HIV in the U.S. do not know they.... Read More

                 

    What Does HIV Look Like in Our Diverse Elder Communities?

    I had the pleasure of attending a Grantmakers In Aging webinar yesterday that focused on the impact of HIV on our elders. Speakers on the webinar included Ben de Guzman, our National Managing Coordinator, as well as Mark Brennan-Ing of ACRIA and Aaron Tax of SAGE. As someone who is relatively new to both HIV and aging advocacy, the experience was extremely valuable to me – especially because by 2020, over 70% of the people with HIV in this country will be 50 or older.

    During the presentation, Mark Brennan-Ing shared some health information about older adults with HIV. Adults over 50 years old account for 11% of new HIV infections in the United States. Additionally, elders.... Read More

                 
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