by Linh Chuong. This post originally appeared on the SEARAC blog.
In 1986, my dad was forced to flee Vietnam because of persecution. He came to the United States as a refugee and was relocated to Oakland along with my three older brothers. As a child, I remained in Vietnam with my mother and three siblings, and my father filed paperwork to bring the rest of my family to the United States so we could be together again. We spent almost a decade apart before we were reunited as a family in East Oakland eight years later.
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.
by Andrew Lam. Andrew is the author of two books of personal essays: “Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora,” and “East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres,” and a book of short stories, “Birds of Paradise Lost.” This article was originally published by the Center for Health Journalism.
The cost of aging in America is exorbitant, which my siblings and I are finding out firsthand through our struggles over the past three years to take care of our aged parents.
My mother, suffering from Alzheimer’s, spends her remaining days mostly in a hospital bed in hospice care, but mercifully next to my father. Both live in an apartment in.... Read More
Increasing the Capacity of Family Caregiver Interventions
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are the fastest growing minority group in America, according to the U.S. Census. Between 2010 and 2030, the AAPI older adult population is projected to increase by 145%. A rapidly increasing aging population demands resilient, capable, and enduring systems of care. Familial systems of care are more prevalent in AAPI communities than other racial groups, with 42% of AAPIs providing care to an older adult, compared to 22% of the general population.
The Tailored Caregiver Assessment and Referral® (TCARE®) program is an evidence-based, care management software platform designed to enable care managers to more effectively support family caregivers by efficiently targeting services to their needs and strengths. The TCARE® program includes.... Read More
Valentine’s Day is often known as a consumer holiday focused on couples. However, at the National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA), we want to reinvent the holiday and use it as a way to celebrate the love everyone has for their Elders.
“Native American values and cultures believe that everything and everyone is connected. What we do to others and to the planet we do to ourselves. Practicing love, honor, gratitude and respect daily will unify us with the planet, its creatures and the Great Spirit.” Today, we encourage everyone to practice love, honor, and gratitude for our Elders, and continue to practice it daily.
How Can You Show Love, Honor, and Gratitude for.... Read More
A Gift From My Grandmother: An Embrace of Life — and Aging
My family packed into the black stretch limousine leaving Cal State University in the East Bay. We were heading to a restaurant after attending my mother’s college graduation. We turned on the music and popped the bottle of complimentary cheap champagne. My grandmother took two sips, then pumped her hands in the air like she was “raising the roof.”
“Someone is trying to get my grandma drunk!” I joked. “Give her the sparkling cider.”
In her sassy Southern drawl, my grandmother responded, “Now look, I’m a grown woman.” She resumed enjoying the music, then diluted her champagne with cider. We all laughed. My grandmother, Angie.... Read More
by liz thomson. For the past five years, liz has been doing eldercare with mom and has learned a lot about the healthcare industrial complex, aging experience, and how marginalized the elder communities are. For more about liz and Betty, click here.
Since moving in together, mom and I have had to figure out how to share our lives together in a new way. One significant area of my life is about gender and sexuality. In Chicago, I had a very strong LGBTQQIA community – and specifically those who were Asian American and people of color. So, I knew moving to Greenwood, Indiana was going to be very different. However, I was surprised to see a PFLAG Greenwood.... Read More
Native American Heritage Month – Digital Storytelling
National Native American Heritage Month pays tribute to the rich traditions of Native Americans, and one of those traditions is storytelling. For the past month, the National Indian Council On Aging (NICOA) has been sharing the most recent stories from the Native Elder Storytelling Project to help celebrate that tradition.
Click above to watch our latest videos. They can also be found on NICOA’s YouTube channel along with our first round of videos.
Native Storytelling Importance
Shannon Smith from the Native Daughters Project beautifully paints the picture of the importance of Native storytelling:
Storytelling is a diverse and powerful medium of imagery and.... Read More
Results of the National Hispanic Council on Aging’s 2017 National Caregiving Survey
Family has always been at the heart of Hispanic values. A big part of that value includes caring for our elders. In fact, providing care for our elders is often considered an honor and is performed willingly. However, caregiving does not come without its own challenges.
As life expectancies grow, we are faced with concerns about health (e.g., chronic disease, dementia, etc.), health care costs, financial stability, and housing. Many of these issues have Hispanic families turning to each other even more for physical, emotional and financial support.
This year, the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), along with its partners, has focused on the needs of Hispanic family caregivers. Over the course of the past year, among other things,.... Read More
Taking aging and caregiving as they come: an interview with Betty Thomson
Elizabeth (liz) Anh Thomson (they/them/theirs) identifies as a bi/queer, Vietnamese adoptee, disabled, gender non-conforming, cisgender female. They were adopted from Vietnam in 1974 by two sisters, Alva (ma) and Betty Thomson (mom). They were raised in Indianapolis, IN in a predominantly white, middle class neighborhood. They studied German and Sociology in undergraduate; Master’s in Women and Gender Studies; and currently a fourth year PhD candidate in Disability Studies, at the University of Illinois at Chicago. They have a passion for documentary photography, community organizing,.... Read More
Were it not for Hawaii’s Pidgin English, I doubt my Grandma and I, her first grandchild, could’ve understood each other, she knowing very little English, and I, an ignoramus about her mother language, Korean.
Love can help build bridges, but for a meeting of the hearts and minds, one needs a basic common vocabulary.
Pidgin comes into play when I communicate with my father, David, whose native language is Korean. Actually, Dad is fluent in Japanese and can handle Mandarin Chinese, too. Nope, none of these Asian languages is familiar to me. I know far more Spanish and German, even Latin,.... Read More
Caregiving Around the Clock: National Family Caregivers Month and Resources for the LGBT Community
Each November we recognize National Family Caregivers Month. As the theme for this year makes clear, many of us are aware that caring for a spouse/partner, family member, or friend is often a 24/7 commitment of caregiving around the clock.
SAGE recognizes the importance of caregiving and planning within the LGBT community. A 2015 AARP report indicates 9 percent (3 million) of the 34.2 million Americans who provide unpaid care to another adult over the age of 50 identify as LGBT. Additionally,.... Read More