Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, and as we have previously shared mental illness affects one in five adults in America and is a leading cause of disability. Unfortunately, almost two-thirds of people with a diagnosable mental illness do not seek help, and racial and ethnic groups are even less likely to get help.

Furthermore, studies have shown that mental health is a major concern for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). Specifically, AI/ANs have a higher prevalence of a variety of mental health conditions, experience PTSD twice as often as the general population, and are known to experience serious psychological distress 1.5 times more than the general population.

#MyStoryMyWay

This year.... Read More

             

Study Shows Most LGBT Adults Worry About Discrimination in Senior Care, Housing

by Dave Singleton. This article originally appeared on Caring.com.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

That’s what I learned touring over 30 assisted living homes and senior communities in recent years. Some visits were for an article I was working on or for volunteering. Others were personal: I was looking for a welcoming home for my mom.

Having written about LGBT housing for five years, I asked myself the same question when I walked through the doors of each community: Would I feel comfortable here if I was older and ready for a senior community?

The answer was always no, and not because I thought the managers and workers at those homes were bigots. I asked.... Read More

             

Strengthening Community-Based Services for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Affected by Dementia

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

             

See Me

This post originally appeared on the NCOA blog.

According to a recent Gallup Poll, there are approximately 2.4 million lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people over 50 years old. We know that many LGBTQ/SGL (same-gender loving) elders never came out of the closet because of the discrimination and stigma associated with being considered criminal and mentally ill. Many compartmentalized their lives into separate “bins” without ever sharing their whole selves.

The way it was

Indeed, LGBTQ/SGL people could be fired from their jobs; have their children taken away through the courts;.... Read More

             

4 Ways to Keep Your Cultural Traditions in Retirement

by Kimberley Fowler. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.

Culture means different things to different people, but no matter who you speak to, there’s agreement it’s important. In fact, over the last 40 years there have been numerous studies showing that culture actually shapes happiness.

That’s why so many retirement communities emphasize cultural menus and programming for residents.  As Americans age, it’s critical to uphold cultural connections, especially when remaining at home is no longer possible. The challenge then becomes finding a retirement community that’s the right “fit” culturally.

For some, finding a cultural fit is.... Read More

             

Finding Housing When Mom Doesn’t Speak English

by Debbie Swanson. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.

Finding assisted living or nursing care for a parent is never easy. The situation is further complicated when the individual in question is not fluent in English because he or she either never became totally versed in the language or aging has introduced difficulties.

“Patients with dementia often revert to their mother language,” explains Dr. Ivan Merkelj, medical director for Palm Beach PACE at MorseLife Health Systems. “The part of the brain that stores a learned language is different than the mother language, and they feel more comfortable with their.... Read More

             

African American Seniors Struggle to Find Therapists Who Understand

by Jeneé Darden for KQED’s California Report. You can read the original story here or listen to the original broadcast here.

Choosing the right mental health therapist means finding connection and trust. For some African American seniors living in the San Francisco Bay Area, for instance, finding that therapist takes extra work. Finding someone they trust and who understands the challenges older people face is important, but African American seniors say another major factor is that the provider understands race and culture.

Paula Marie Parker, 64, is a retired newspaper journalist. She stays active in the Oakland community as a health advocate for people of color and as a storyteller. Parker’s family.... Read More

             

The Challenge of Curbing Smoking in Native American Communities

by Kevyn Burger. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.

Mary Owl still remembers her first cigarette, puffed when she was 13 years old.

“I was never so high in my life,” recalled Owl, now 58. “I inhaled, got dizzy and then sick to my stomach.”

A tribal citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Owl lit up the day she arrived at a boarding school in rural Oklahoma.

Away from home for the first time, the lonely teen was susceptible to peer pressure.

“I was in the bathroom with some girls I’d just met. They asked me if I smoked and I said, ‘sure,’” Owl said. “I went back to my dorm and.... Read More

             
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