Dennis and Betty Smartt live in a neatly painted white-and-blue home on the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Reservation, on the Nevada-Oregon border. They’ve spent their entire lives here, in this small tribal community of 600 people.
The Smartts, members of the Paiute Tribe, exemplify the challenges Native elders face as they get older in remote communities with poor health care access.
At their home, Dennis’ handcrafted eagle feather headdress adorns a stand in the living room. He recently returned from a trip to Fort Bidwell, Calif., where he spoke at a traditional gathering of elders for prayer and cultural talks. That trip illustrated some of the challenges the Smartts and.... Read More
Health Risks To Farmworkers Increase As Workforce Ages
That bag of frozen cauliflower sitting inside your freezer likely sprang to life in a vast field north of Salinas, Calif. A crew of men and women here use a machine to drop seedlings into the black soil. Another group follows behind, stooped over, tapping each new plant.
It is backbreaking, repetitive work. Ten-hour days start in the cold, dark mornings and end in the searing afternoon heat.
More than 90 percent of California’s crop workers were born in Mexico. But in recent years, fewer have migrated to the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Researchers point to a number of causes: tighter border controls; higher prices charged by.... Read More
Aging Undocumented Day Laborers Face Uncertain Future
Every morning, Eduardo arrives at a day laborer center in Los Angeles to pick up his crew for the day. Depending on the working schedule, the 52-year-old man takes between two and four men to work in different projects, mainly in construction.
“Sometimes other [day labor workers] laugh at me because I often take the older men,” said Eduardo. “But I take them because they have less opportunity to be hired,” said Eduardo. For many years he also worked as a jornalero, a day laborer doing different types of work, such as gardening, construction, loading, plumbing and other physical work.
One of his most loyal workers is Gerardo,.... Read More
What Advocates for Older Adults Need to Know About the Budget Resolution
If you work with older adults (or have older adults in your life), you have a sense of what we all need as we age. The burden of high health care and housing costs on low-income seniors is growing, and fewer seniors can meet these basic needs: hot meals and enough food to eat, a stable home in the community, and quality health care. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans passed a budget resolution that would make this vision of aging more and more rare. The budget resolution.... Read More
A Nursing Home for American Indian Elders Fills Cultural Needs
by Kevyn Burger. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.
Born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, Kathy Janis was taught to revere the elders in her Oglala Sioux Tribe.
“I was raised to consider every one of them to be a relative. Respect is instilled in us,” she said. “My parents didn’t tell it, they lived it and showed us.”
That’s why Janis prioritized the needs of her older relatives while serving on the Tribal Council. More than a decade ago, the governing body began laying the groundwork to build a nursing home specifically for the tribe’s members. An early step was visiting tribal elders who were scattered in facilities around the country.... Read More
How does the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) impact Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) elders?
The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is the only job training program focused exclusively on helping older Americans return to the workforce. The program assists low-income unemployed adults aged 55 years and older by providing job training through temporary paid work experiences that can lead to unsubsidized employment. Older workers are critical to the American economy, making up 35 percent of the U.S. labor force by 2020. While employers view older workers favorably for their experience, knowledge, professionalism, work ethic, and loyalty, older Americans struggle to return to the workplace once they’ve.... Read More
The Painful Struggles of America’s Older Immigrants
by Chris Farrell. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.
America’s immigrant community is aging along with the rest of the population, and in many cases, with great financial difficulty.
Some 15 percent of adults 60 and over were foreign-born in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Older immigrants represent a larger proportion of the elderly in major gateway cities and states. For example, in New York City, they comprise 46 percent of older adults; in California, one in nearly three older residents is foreign-born. Late-life immigrants are contributing to rising ethnic populations in rural areas and small towns in the Midwest and South, such as in Minnesota and Georgia, according to.... Read More
Medicare Open Enrollment: Are You Ready to Pick A Plan?
It’s picking season—pumpkins, apples, Halloween candy… and a Medicare health or drug plan. Medicare Open Enrollment runs from October 15–December 7!
Picking a plan is an important and personal decision. Each person has a unique set of priorities. When you sit down to review your Medicare health and drug plan choices this year, keep track of the things you may want in a plan, and pick one that’s right for you.
Here are some things to keep in mind while you consider your choices:
Does the plan cover the services you need?
Future health care needs can be hard to predict, but changes happen. Make sure you understand what services and benefits you’re.... Read More
“I’m sick of worrying about how I’m going to make it from one day to the next.”
On September 8, a group of advocates and stakeholders met in Washington, DC and on the phone from around the country to attend the Social Security Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 Briefing. Bonnie Kind, the Associate Commissioner for Budget, began the meeting by discussing the FY17 budget for the Social Security Administration. On average, Bonnie reported, 68 million people receive Social Security benefits each month – and Social Security benefits keep 21 million people out of poverty each year. Unfortunately, Social Security is facing budget challenges that may impact SSA’s ability to deliver quality services to its recipients. Claims are.... Read More
Elders, on average, are living longer now than ever before. While aging does bring new challenges, it also provides new opportunities. As another stage in the cycle of life, we look toward our Elder years with the understanding that while some doors will have closed, others are now open to us.
For American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Elders, growing older has provided us with a lifetime of valuable experiences and lessons learned. Through struggles and successes, we have gained wisdom about many different subjects. Elders are looked to for this wisdom, for guidance, from the younger generations. It is both a privilege and.... Read More