National Nutrition Month: Highlight on the Elder Index and Food Insecurity

    Developed by the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston, the Elder Index tool is used to measure the income older people need to meet their daily living expenses while staying independent in their own homes. The Elder Index tool is specific to household size, location, housing and health status, unlike the Federal Poverty Level, another index used to assess income level.

    Additionally, the Elder Index accounts for the cost of healthcare, transportation, miscellaneous essentials, and food. After attending the webinar “Promoting Better Communities for Older.... Read More

                 

    Supporting Black Futures During Black History Month by Ending Diabetes Disparities

    African American older adults are disproportionately affected by diabetes, which affects more than 10% of African American adults. Without proper management, diabetes may increase the risk for other diseases including cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

    One way to understand this concept is to think about how sticky sugar becomes when you caramelize it in a frying pan. This is the same process that occurs in our arteries, since the average internal temperature of the human body is 98.6°F. As our arteries are filled with this “sticky sugar,” our heart needs to work harder to.... Read More

                 

    The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As an Activist for Health Reform

    On January 15, 1929, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. King’s family always knew that he was special, but no one knew how special he would turn out to be, with his influence still being felt today. As one of the most prominent leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King united Americans to fight racism and oppression via civil disobedience and nonviolent protesting. What is less well known about Dr. King is that his vision for a better America included abolishing health injustice.

    “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhuman.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    We seldom talk about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s.... Read More

                 

    I am extremely grateful…It’s been a year working to support diverse family caregivers

    As I approach the end of my first full year working with the Diverse Elders Coalition, I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had on both a personal and professional level. Working on the coalition’s caregiving initiative, “Addressing Unmet Family Caregiving Needs in Diverse Communities,” has been a very rewarding experience that will have a tremendous impact on my work as I move forward in my career.

    My journey with the Diverse Elders Coalition began on January 7th, 2019. As the coalition’s newest Program Associate, my main focus has been on family caregiving. This initiative, a multi-year project to improve the multicultural capacities of service providers to support diverse family caregivers, allowed for opportunities.... Read More

                 

    National Family Caregivers Month: Strength and Resilience

    November is a very special month. It marks the month of Thanksgiving, where millions of families and friends across the United States gather to give thanks, show appreciation for one another, and feast. November also marks National Family Caregivers Month, a time to recognize the people taking care of the ones they love. Although National Family Caregivers Month is not as widely celebrated as Thanksgiving, it is just as important for millions of families across the United States. Along with expressing gratitude for family caregivers, National Family Caregivers Month is a time to highlight the issues of family caregivers, provide resources, and to advocate for supportive policies and programs.

    There are many issues that family caregivers.... Read More

                 

    Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month

    In addition to being Hispanic Heritage Month, LGBT History Month, and Filipino American History Month, October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This month, we celebrate the contributions of workers with disabilities and educate everyone about the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents. This year’s theme, “The Right Talent, Right Now,” emphasizes the critical role people with disabilities have in America’s economy.

    In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that people with disabilities make up 19.1% of the employed population. It is clear that people with disabilities.... Read More

                 

    Grandparents Day: A Letter to Younger Generations

    Throughout my entire life, I have been fortunate enough to have been influenced and guided by older adults. As a young section 8 housing kid juxtaposed amongst kids from a higher socioeconomic class at a Roman Catholic private school, I found comfort in older adults who guided and consoled me during times when I felt alone. If it weren’t for my grandfather, grandmother, my mothers’ friends, and my school’s religious brothers, I would not be the person I am today. To many people, older adults can be perceived as “uncool” or stereotyped because of their age, however, I have.... Read More

                 

    I Attended a Focus Group with Vietnamese Caregivers. Here are Some of the Things I Learned.

    Last month, I had the opportunity to attend a focus group with Vietnamese family caregivers in Houston, Texas. During the focus group, I learned more about their caregiving experiences, their challenges, and the changes they would like to see in the U.S. healthcare system. Here are some of the things I learned.

    “Very thankful for my parents, but sometimes it can be hard to please them, especially when dealing with right and wrong because of our cultural values.” – focus group participant

    Cultural Values Influences Caregiving Expectations

    In the Vietnamese community, traditional values have a big impact on caregivers. Traditional values such as filial piety — respect for one’s parents, elders, and ancestors — influence many Vietnamese caregivers to exclusively.... Read More

                 

    War, Trauma, and the Mental Health of Vietnam War-Era Older Adults

    After the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, many Vietnamese people fled their war-torn country for the United States in search for a better life. Thousands of Vietnamese adults, children, and families crammed onto boats and traveled to the United States leaving their belongings, loved ones, and former lives behind. These people lost everything except for their memories of the fall of Saigon, the horrors of communist re-education camps, and the atrocities of the Vietnam War. For many Vietnamese individuals, these memories may transpire psychological trauma similar to the many Vietnam War-era U.S. veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

    PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur after a person experiences or observes.... Read More

                 

    Pride Month: Caregiving in LGBT Communities

    It is estimated that 10,000 adults turn 65 and older everyday. Amidst an aging population and shrinking healthcare workforce, caregivers play a crucial role in the long-term care of older adults, accounting for more than 85% of all elder care in the US. According to a 2015 study by AARP, it was estimated that there are 34.2 million Americans are providing care to another person who is over the age 50.

    The number of caregivers in the United States is expected to grow alongside the older adult population. Caregivers provide physical, psychological, and emotional care for another person who may be a family member, friend, or a partner. The act of providing care can be very fulfilling, but as a.... Read More

                 

    Type 2 Diabetes: Lessons Learned from the Experiences of Native Americans

    In the United States, American Indians and Alaska Natives have a greater chance of having type 2 diabetes than any other racial group. This is very troubling because without medical intervention, the progression of type 2 diabetes may lead to other conditions and diseases including high blood pressure, kidney failure, and heart disease – the number one cause of death in the United States.

    In the United States, American Indians and Alaska Native are 50% more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic whites. In addition, 33% of the American Indian and Alaska Native population is considered obese. In other words, more than a quarter of the American Indian.... Read More

                 
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