Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are the fastest growing minority group in America, and between 2010 and 2030, the AAPI older adult population is projected to increase by 145 percent, according to the US Census. This growth will also impact the number of AAPI older adults with Alzheimer’s: For example, during this time frame, California, which is home to the nation’s largest population of AAPI older adults, expects Alzheimer’s disease to nearly triple among AAPIs. Many AAPIs do not report symptoms of dementia to a medical professional and consequently, AAPIs are unlikely to receive a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease in the early stage. AAPI families may underestimate the physical and emotional toll daily.... Read More
For those who, like me, have witnessed the slow but inevitable erosion of a loved one’s memories due to a mysterious form of dementia which increasingly strips them of the ability to remember longtime friends, to recall the steps needed to perform tasks once executed almost without thinking — even taking away navigational skills that previously led them to spaces that had held a special place in their hearts — Alzheimer’s disease and its impact can seem like a death sentence.
And while medical research has yet to provide a.... Read More
When Mom Doesn’t Recognize Me, I Tie a Knot and Hang On
I would have never believed there would ever come a time when my Mom–whom I’ve always described, whenever asked, as my best friend, No. 1 fan, personal “shero” and one who’s loved me unconditionally without hesitation or regret for my entire life–would look upon my face and require a few minutes before recognizing who I am.
But as her 90th birthday approaches, I must face the inevitable truth that Alzheimer’s is slowly, but surely, reshaping our world, her reality. The disease is eating away pieces of my mother’s mind, leaving a mere shell of the woman she once was. And, it both frightens me and causes great pain.
The future remains uncertain for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which opened the door for a major overhaul of the United States healthcare system with President Barack Obama’s signature in 2010, and which continues to be attacked and subjected to legislative revisions initiated by President, Donald J. Trump and his Republican colleagues.
But women, who tend to serve as the primary caregivers for their families while often ignoring their own health, can ill afford to wait until the dust finally clears, particularly when it comes to their hearts.
Often thought of as a “man’s disease,” heart disease stands as the leading cause of death for women in the United.... Read More
Confronting AIDS and Coming Out Taught Us How to Age Well
A first-ever survey in 2013 of LGBT San Francisco residents aged 60 to 92 found something startling: 15 percent of the 612 respondents had “seriously considered” committing suicide within the last 12 months. Commissioned by the city’s LGBT Aging Policy Task Force, the study found high degrees of disability as well as poor physical and mental health—both of which are associated with depression. The researchers were understandably concerned by the high percentage of LGBT seniors who had considered suicide.
Every year, March 20th is designated as National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. As the US Department of Health and Human Services states, the day is “a time to recognize the impact of HIV/AIDS on American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.”
What are HIV and AIDS? HIV is a virus spread through certain body fluids that attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the CD4 cells. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease. Opportunistic infections or cancers take advantage of a very weak immune system and signal that.... Read More
Honoring Our Experience, a social services program run by the Shanti Project, sponsors a series of REVIVAL dances to honor long-term HIV survivors in San Francisco. Hank wrote this piece for a talent show at the February 2018 REVIVAL dance and has graciously shared it with the Diverse Elders Coalition for publication on our website.
It’s 1959 and I’m six years old. My family has gathered at my grandparents’ house this Sunday to watch The Ed Sullivan Show. I’m sitting on the cold linoleum floor, watching, as this very tall, thin, very regal-looking woman walks onto.... Read More
Successful Outcomes of the LGBT Aging Policy Task Force
Four years ago, the San Francisco LGBT Aging Policy Task Force concluded its 18-month tenure by submitting its final report, LGBT Aging at the Golden Gate: San Francisco Policy Issues and Recommendations, to the Board of Supervisors. The LGBT task force had been charged with studying and identifying systemic barriers to living well and to make recommendations for enhancing quality of life and reducing health disparities and inequities for LGBT older adults.
The task force’s report was unanimously adopted by the Board of Supervisors.... Read More
As I write this article, slightly more than a month before my 65th birthday, I wish was eagerly anticipating a lovely fun-filled celebration. But I know better. I will most likely spend the day in bed with the covers pulled over my head, wondering, “What the hell happened?!”
Not that long ago—although it feels like a lifetime—I was a very active, respected wrestler and amateur MMA fighter—I have a championship belt hanging on my wall that I won in an eight-man MMA tournament in 2001 at age forty-eight. Today,.... Read More
Rebeca Gonzalez grew up eating artichokes from her grandmother’s farm in the central Mexican state of Tlaxcala. But for years after emigrating to the U.S., she did not feed them to her own kids because the spiky, fibrous vegetables were too expensive on this side of the border.
When she prepared meals at her family’s home in Garden Grove, Calif., Gonzalez would also omit avocados, a staple of Mexican cuisine that is often costly here.
“I saw the prices and I said, ‘No, never mind,’” said Gonzalez,.... Read More