To Eliminate Race Disparities in Diabetes, We Must Address Social Determinants of Health

by Susan Buchanan. This article originally appeared in the Louisiana Weekly.

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

by Susan Buchanan. This article originally appeared in the Louisiana Weekly.

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.

‘Extremely Dangerous’

Beyond access to water, older people are vulnerable to dehydration for.... Read More

             

Eczema Symptoms Found to Be Worse for African Americans

by Ryan Whirty. This article originally appeared in The Louisiana Weekly.

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

             

Childhood Memories of Racial Discrimination

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

             

Older Black Workers Face Higher Risk of Layoff

by Kyle Moore and Teresa Ghilarducci

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

             

Alzheimer’s: The Disease that Steals Memories

by D. Kevin McNeir for the Washington Informer.

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

by D. Kevin McNeir for the Washington Informer.

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.

I.... Read More

             

A Lack of Fair Housing for Diverse Elders Leads to Health Disparities and Economic Insecurity

Did you know? April is National Fair Housing Month. Every April, the United States commemorates the anniversary of the passing of the Fair Housing Act and recommits to that goal which inspired us in the aftermath of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination in 1968: to eliminate housing discrimination and create equal opportunity in every community.

I thought I’d learn more about National Fair Housing Month if I went to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website. There I read: “Recent studies and data reveal that, while segregation has decreased since the passage of the Fair Housing Act 47 years ago, segregation remains a problem today.” Housing segregation is still a problem today?.... Read More

             

Elder Abuse Won’t Stop By Itself

Approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse. Broadly defined, elder abuse is any form of mistreatment that results in harm or loss to an older person. More specifically, the World Health Organization defines elder abuse as “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.”

The legal definition of elder abuse varies from state-to-state.

Elder abuse affects people from all ethnic backgrounds and social status, and most victims of abuse are women.  Elder abuse may be physical, emotion, sexual, exploitive, neglect, or abandonment. Specifically defined:

Physical abuse includes inflicting, or threatening to.... Read More
             

Black History Month: A Closer Look at The Minority Stress Model and Older Adult Sexual Minorities

I’m always pleased to see great activists and icons of the Civil Rights Movement, inventors, artists, academics and musicians celebrated during Black History Month. Historically most have experienced interlocking oppressions of race, class and gender, and have shared stories through biopics and documentaries, while unsung heroes and survivors among us share their stories in small communities throughout the country. Many older adult minorities continue to report facing minority stressors within and outside of our communities (Velez, Moradi, & Brewster, 2013). This Black History Month, while we are remembering significant people and events in the history of the African diaspora, let’s take a closer look at the stress, struggle and resilience that continues to impact the lives of aging older adults.... Read More

             

We have so much to learn from Black Elders — and so many reasons to support them

February marks the start of Black History Month, a celebration of Black and African American stories, experiences, and impact on American culture. At the Diverse Elders Coalition, we’re proud to celebrate Black Elders every month of the year, but February offers us a bonus opportunity to lift these stories up into the national spotlight. Black Elders have so much wisdom to share about our history and the ways they have challenged white supremacy and other forms of oppression. It is imperative that those stories are not lost or forgotten.

I recently attended a Capitol Hill Briefing about the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), during which we heard testimonials from community-based organizations that employ older.... Read More

             
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