Family caregivers provide an estimated $470 billion in unpaid care each year. All family caregivers need more support, but the diverse needs of family caregivers have not been fully appreciated. Thanks to research supported by The John A. Hartford Foundation, we’re learning a lot more about the diversity of family caregivers in this country and how we can better support them.
Family caregivers are represented in all races, ethnicities, ages, sexualities, gender.... Read More
Throughout my entire life, I have been fortunate enough to have been influenced and guided by older adults. As a young section 8 housing kid juxtaposed amongst kids from a higher socioeconomic class at a Roman Catholic private school, I found comfort in older adults who guided and consoled me during times when I felt alone. If it weren’t for my grandfather, grandmother, my mothers’ friends, and my school’s religious brothers, I would not be the person I am today. To many people, older adults can be perceived as “uncool” or stereotyped because of their age, however, I have.... Read More
Culturally Competent Supports for Diverse Family Caregivers: Spotlight on Volunteers of America Minnesota-Wisconsin
Nearly one in four older adults dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid has Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia, and dually eligible older adults have higher rates of chronic conditions than Medicare-only beneficiaries. Caring for individuals with dementia and other chronic conditions often involves significant physical, emotional, and financial support from family members. To meet the needs of family caregivers, providers and health plans may benefit from strategies for supporting caregivers through services such as respite services, counseling, and training and education.
Family caregivers come from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and health plans report.... Read More
Gender is much more complex than most of us were taught.
Transgender people have existed for as long as people have existed. But due to stigma, poor treatment, lack of knowing others like themselves and fear of rejection, many transgender people have chosen not to come out earlier in life — or at all.
For the first time, a newly-released report, resulting from a one-day summit, “Paving the Path for Family-Centered Design: A National Report on Family Caregiver Roles in Medical Product Development,” explores the vital roles that family caregivers can play in shaping biomedical research and development, regulatory decision-making and healthcare delivery. Specifically, the report begins a dialogue on how to incorporate the critical knowledge of caregivers in developing pharmaceutical products, biotechnology therapies, and medical devices. It presents recommendations for leveraging the enormous – and largely untapped – a reservoir of information and observations of caregivers about the conditions their care.... Read More
Despite connectivity, social isolation is not declining—especially among diverse older adults
When asked by staff of the Diverse Elders Coalition about the aging services available in her area, Elva, an American Indian elder from New Mexico, relayed how important her local Elder Center was to her and her peers’ well-being: “We as elders need a place to come to, [where we] have meals, do activities and visit with friends and relatives.”
Elva noted that the Elder Center was a place where she could get information about benefits and other available resources. “Many times, as a Native elder, we feel that we don’t exist,” she said.
In our increasingly digitally connected world, there.... Read More
My memories from childhood are extremely hazy. Most of what I can recall are fleeting feelings: the bliss in skipping around my Kindergarten classroom as I sang about the days of the week, the joy in jumping up and down on my parents’ bed as I watched “David the Gnome,” the curiosity in having accidentally swallowed a piece of gum, the preceding anxiety and subsequent relief in remembering my steps for a dance recital. Practically all my childhood firsts are long forgotten; I cannot recollect the first book I ever read by myself, or the first tooth I lost, or the.... Read More
Quality of Life Enhanced for Seniors with Companion Animals
Much has been reported about a paradigm shift within American society which looms on the horizon and cannot be ignored: In less than 20 years, according to U.S. Census data, older adults will outnumber children for the first time in our history. On reaching that milestone in 2035, experts predict, the 78 million older Americans 65 or more will slightly outnumber the 76.7 million children under 18.
Most of these seniors will be women, who have longer life expectancies than men and who will more than likely live at home with the assistance of family caregivers. The majority of the seniors will be baby.... Read More
Grandfamilies Cut Across Class and Ethnic Groups, Particularly Prevalent Among African Americans
Caregiving provided by grandparents serves as a safety net for children in need of parenting regardless of race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. Approximately 2.9 million grandparents make breakfast, organize their grandchildren’s activities, arrange doctor’s appointments, help with homework, and worry about how they are going to afford college coupled with their everyday household expenses.
Since the 1970s, the number of grandparents raising grandchildren in the United States has rapidly increased. Sometimes grandparent caregiving is a formal arrangement, including foster care or adoption. Many times, grandparent caregiving is an informal arrangement that might occur in a multi-generational home or take place outside of the family home due to social conditions such as addiction, incarceration, child abuse, neglect, and even the death.... Read More
Come see “Toilet Talks,” a play about eldercare, in Indianapolis next week!
In November of 2017, we met Betty (she/her/hers) and liz thomson (they/them/theirs) through the interview on November 20, 2017. They had just moved in together that fall and were adjusting to their new apartment in Greenwood, Indiana. Liz, who is an adoptee and identifies as bi/queer and gender non-conforming, interviewed Mom to get her thoughts on how the new situation was going. In September of 2018, Mom passed away and left liz with the logistics that follow a death, but also a deeply unexpected void in their life. Trying to cope in a healthy way, liz wrote Toilet Talks, a semi-fictional play about their elder care experience. Toilet Talks will be a.... Read More
Vietnamese Death Anniversaries Unite Young and Old
By Christine Nguyen, MD. This story originally appeared on KALW FM’s “Crosscurrents.”
In 2006, my Mom had a dream. Grandma sat above her, perched on a black stone wall so high her feet didn’t touch the floor. “Mother,” Mom called, “You’re up so high. You might fall to your death.”
A phone call interrupted Mom’s dream. It was her brother. Their mother was dead. “Sister,” he added, “I’ve made Mother a tombstone. Black. Granite from India.”
Ancestor worship is the most common religious practice in Vietnam. It’s called Đạo Ông Bà, or “belief in Grandfather and Grandmother.” When a Vietnamese parent dies, the children make an altar in their homes for the parent’s spirit to live. The practice is.... 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