An older adult at the National Hispanic Council on Aging’s (NHCOA’s) community forum in Miami was frustrated at the difficulty of her life and those of peers. “Why,” she exclaimed, “in the richest country in the world can we not eat three meals a day?” It was a direct statement of the plight of Hispanic older adults that NHCOA heard over and over again as the organization spoke with seniors and their caregivers across the country. Hispanic seniors, they heard, were simply not able to make ends meet. Their low fixed incomes simply did not cover the monthly expenses of rent, food and medical needs. Seniors were deferring medications to cover meals and not eating meals to cover.... Read More
The Status of Older Adults: Recommendations from the Field
In just a few short years, the U.S. will have more seniors than youth under 18 for the first time in history. Yet today, our seniors face a host of difficulties that prevent them from aging with dignity, the best possible health and security. This is especially true of Hispanic older adults and other diverse seniors. Twenty percent of Hispanic older adults live in poverty and many more live in economic insecurity, often marked by hunger and a lack of quality housing and medical care. In addition, many Hispanic seniors lack access to long-term services and supports and are victims of financial abuse, neglect and fraud.
In just a few short decades, one in five U.S. residents will be an older adult. This is an incredible demographic shift for U.S. society and it has implications for every aspect of U.S. life. As advocates for, and experts of, the senior community, we discuss a lot of those implications. We talk about needed services for our nation’s seniors and the current lack of quality, affordable, senior appropriate housing stock. We talk about the unacceptable levels of hunger among U.S. seniors and lack of access to transportation and quality medical care. We talk about the importance of educating a slimming workforce so that our elders can be supported and the critical importance of Social Security and Medicare. And for.... Read More
NHCOA Responds to the 2015 White House Conference on Aging
The White House Conference on Aging, which took place on July 13th, was inspiring for us at the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) and for all those working on behalf of the U.S.’s diverse aging communities. As the President and CEO of NHCOA, I had the honor and privilege to be invited to attend this critically important event and to represent older Latinos.
The White House Conference on Aging takes place every 10 years and is a catalyst for the national policy agenda in reference to aging for the next decade. This year, the White House Conference on Aging was particularly historic because it concurred with the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid and the Older Americans.... Read More
Promoting grassroots leadership to achieve national support for diverse seniors
The forum moderator at our 2014 Los Angeles Open Forum asked participants how many struggled to eat three daily meals. One participant, Angélica*, matter-of-factly told us: “I have had to eat cat food before because I couldn’t afford anything else.” When prompted, she also shared that it has happened more than once. It is no secret that Hispanic older adults and other diverse seniors face great challenges in attaining economic security, good health, and affordable housing due to several barriers and challenges.
August in Washington, DC usually means Congressional recess, when all Congress members take a break from Washington and return to their districts. Depending on whom you ask, August in DC could either be a peaceful and quiet time or a time to schedule meetings and diligently prepare for Congress’ return post-Labor Day. For the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), it has been the latter. As we enter the last quarter of the year, NHCOA is focusing efforts on scheduling Hill visits to educate Congressional staffers and reiterate how critical it is for Congress to reauthorize the Older Americans Act as they return to Washington from their states and districts this week.
The Older Americans Act (OAA) is one of.... Read More
Salud y Bienestar: Helping Latino Seniors and Families Prevent and Manage Diabetes
Obesity is a foothold for chronic diseases, such as diabetes, posing a particularly serious health challenge for all diverse communities, including Hispanic older adults. Sadly, the number of Latino diabetics increases with age: one out of three Hispanic older adults suffer from the disease, which is often accompanied by related complications such as kidney disease, amputations, heart disease, high blood pressure, and nerve damage. While factors such as obesity predispose Latinos to diabetes, there are also myriad cultural, educational, linguistic, financial, and institutional barriers that keep Hispanics from being diagnosed in the first place. In fact, two of out every seven diabetics in the United States are undiagnosed. This is poses a significant health threat and challenge not only among.... Read More
Medicare and Medicaid at 49: Keeping the Generations-Old Promise Alive
While the concept of national health insurance was developed in the early 20th century, President Harry S. Truman elevated the issue during his Administration:
“Millions of our citizens do not now have a full measure of opportunity to achieve and to enjoy good health. Millions do not now have protection or security against the economic effects of sickness. And the time has now arrived for action to help them attain that opportunity and to help them get that protection.”
Twenty years later, his vision was brought to life under President Lyndon B. Johnson with the Social Security Amendments of 1965, which provided millions of older Americans and low-income families with access to healthcare through the Medicare and Medicaid programs. At.... Read More
NHCOA Regional Meetings: Leveraging the Power of Stories and Grassroots Leadership
Access to health care, Medicare fraud, poverty, and hunger were the most pressing issues discussed at the Miami and Dallas Open Forums, which are part of the National Hispanic Council on Aging’s 2014 Promoting Communities of Success Regional Meeting series.
The data speaks for itself:
Over one-quarter of the Hispanic population is in poverty. There are about 750,000 older adults nationwide experiencing hunger and 5 million facing food insecurity. Of these, Hispanic older adults are 20% more likely to be hungry. Latino seniors and diverse elders are more likely to suffer specific chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and.... Read More
Addressing the Needs of LGBT Hispanic Older Adults in the U.S
With the rapid growth of our diverse population, our country is becoming more beautiful than ever. But unfortunately, there are still some groups that are not well understood by the nation’s service providers, or by local, state and federal governments. One of those groups is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) older adults. And in order to better understand the reality of this diverse community, the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) conducted an analysis through a literature review, focus groups (one was held at The SAGE Center; SAGE is fellow member organization of the Diverse Elders Coalition) and in-depth interviews with LGBT Hispanic older adults, including the service providers who work with.... Read More
Immigration Reform and Politics in an Aging America
The Latino community is united in wanting to fix our nation’s broken immigration policies. Without a doubt, immigration is a galvanizing issue for the nation’s Hispanics, 75% of whom are United States citizens. The toxic rhetoric on immigration has affected us deeply, and that is why Latino voters last November generated a game-changing moment for this debate, giving us an opportunity to arrive at a solution. Our community is engaged and watching this debate closely. It matters not only to voters today, but it stands to shape the views of the nearly 900,000 Latino citizens who will turn 18 each year between now and 2028. This is an issue that impacts us, our families and our neighbors. Our immigration, asylum.... Read More
As policy makers gather to discuss the impending fiscal cliff, they will consider many ways to reduce budget deficits and the national debt. This discussion includes the future of health care. Rather than cutting benefits, one of the best ways to lower health care costs is to invest in workers’ health through policies that allow them to take paid time off in event of an illness or to look after a loved one who is sick.
That is why NHCOA has been working across states to raise awareness and empower Latino workers and older adults to advocate for leaves that pay laws at the local and state level. Leaves that pay policies are the best way to ensure.... Read More