by Rodney Brooks. This article originally appeared in USA TODAY.
A decade ago, Rushern Baker III started seeing signs that something was wrong with his wife when she was still in her late 40s. Christa Beverly was forgetting things and losing things. Then, she was hopelessly lost only blocks from her parents’ home.
It took some doing, but he convinced her to see a doctor. She was tested, and at age 49 was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. At the time, Baker was preparing to run for county executive in Prince Georges County, Md., which borders Washington, D.C., an election he won in 2010.
Within a few years of the diagnosis, Christa had lost most of her functions. Today, at age 58, she.... Read More
Honoring Queen Latifah: The Celebrity, The Caregiver, The Heart Health Advocate
Black History Month is a commemorative month to celebrate the lives of those who are significant in the history of the African Diaspora. These people stem from different backgrounds including artists, activists, inventors, academics, scientists, musicians, actors, and many more. Although these people are different in profession, they are all unified with the goal of improving the lives of African Americans. In accordance with Black History Month, February is also American Heart Month, a commemorative month to highlight the importance of heart health in resolving heart disease and failure – the #1 leading cause of death in the United States and worldwide. During both Black History Month and American Heart Month, I would like to introduce Queen.... Read More
Rose and George Covington live in a 4-bedroom, two-bath brick house on Meridian St. in East Nashville. They are still doing what they started doing 45 years ago: raising children. Their own two, Tim and Jessica, are grown and out of the house.
They’ve got five grandchildren and one great grandchild, Michael, who is 2 ½. Rose and George are raising them. There is also Rose’s nephew, Jerry, 14. Kids from an extended family of eighty-nine at one time or another have lived in the house on Meridian St. It has four blue metal chairs on the front lawn and a welcome mat by the front.... Read More
The Ways Inequality Affects Black Americans at the End of Life
by Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.
Jodi Savage was her grandmother’s caretaker in her last days. Like many black Americans, her grandmother’s cultural beliefs and religious background led to very little discussion around the end of life. Culturally speaking, black Americans on the whole tend to avoid discussing end-of-life topics for fear of speaking things into existence. Focus is placed on making the best of the time you’re given. A lack of cultural competency from physicians led to a misunderstanding of Savage’s grandmother’s needs and minimal support through the death-planning process. Savage.... Read More
To Eliminate Race Disparities in Diabetes, We Must Address Social Determinants of Health
In the United States, diabetes is most prevalent among Southerners and residents of Appalachian regions. Blacks are afflicted more than whites. Over a third of African American seniors are diagnosed as diabetic.
The prevalence of diabetes increases with age, Kelly Zimmerman, spokeswoman for Louisiana’s Department of Health, said last week. Adults ages 65 and older had the highest rate in the state last year at 26.1 percent. Diabetes among all of Louisiana’s adults 18 years and above was 13.6 percent. For the state’s African American adults of.... Read More
Black, Hispanic Elders Especially Susceptible to Dehydration
Elders are among those most vulnerable to dehydration, and African American and Hispanic adults are more likely to become dehydrated than whites, researchers have found.
In a review of health issues after the Gulf Coast’s hurricanes in 2005, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pointed to the dangers of dehydration for older adults. People suffered from heat and a lack of potable water. After Katrina struck that August, dehydration took the lives of many local seniors in nursing homes, hospitals, shelters and their houses. Rita, Wilma and Dennis were other deadly Gulf hurricanes in 2005.
Beyond access to water, older people are vulnerable to dehydration for.... Read More
Eczema Symptoms Found to Be Worse for African Americans
All skin – and a particular skin disorder – is not the same, as a recent study into the effects and symptoms of eczema, a frustratingly itchy, often painful and potentially embarrassing affliction of the dermis, shows.
In a study published in September in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology – the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology – researchers examined the molecular differences between the skin of African Americans with atopic dermatitis (the formal name for eczema).... Read More
by Leslie Hunter-Gadsden. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.
In my childhood neighborhood, “moving on up” meant a 1970 move from our New York City apartment on 155th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenues to a three-room apartment in a building on Riverside Drive West, near 159th Street in Washington Heights. The building was part of a six-unit, seven-story, multiple dwelling, facing the Hudson River and New Jersey, with the George Washington Bridge just to the north and clearly visible from the front entrance.
Back then, the building featured apartments for rent, but by the early 1980s, it converted to mostly co-op apartments. I turned 10 the year my mother and I moved in, and we lived.... Read More
After 11 years of economic expansion, the difference in unemployment rates between black and white older workers is at a historic low—just 1.1 percentage points apart. Black workers usually suffer from much higher rates of unemployment than whites, so the small gap between the two racial groups is good news (the gap between black and white men is usually larger than the gap between black and white women—for this period the men’s gap was 1.5 percentage points, while the women’s gap was just .7 of a percentage point). But the good news about a small racial unemployment rate gap likely is temporary, and history shows the racial gap in joblessness will grow in the next.... 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
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
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.