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

             

Conquering Health Disparities Facing Older Hispanics

For far too many years, Hispanics across the country have been sidelined in critical medical research. As a result, our community is not taken into consideration in the creation of medical treatment programs that, for some, would be their best chance for survival. For a community that already faces a lower life expectancy, higher rates of diabetes and other critical health disparities when compared to their white peers, this reality is simply unacceptable.

Even worse is the lack of precise medical treatments for older Hispanic populations. As some of the most vulnerable members of our society, these individuals deserve equal access to treatment.... 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

             

New Report Identifies Unique Challenges for LGBT Community Facing Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias

LGBT and Dementia – a new issues brief developed by the Alzheimer’s Association and SAGE outlines the unique challenges facing LGBT older adults living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias and their caregivers. The brief outlines the unique issues that arise when Alzheimer’s disease, sexual orientation, and gender identification and expression intersect, allowing advocates and care providers to better meet the needs of LGBT elders and their caregivers facing dementia.

“Living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia is not easy for anyone,” said Sam Fazio, Ph.D., director of quality care and psychosocial research, Alzheimer’s Association. “But LGBT individuals can often face additional challenges that need to be considered and addressed to ensure this population.... Read More

             

For Older Women, Domestic Abuse Often Isn’t Physical

by Jess Stonefield. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.

“Well — he doesn’t hit me.”

It’s a phrase I hear when talking to older women through Humble Warrior, a free compassionate listening service aimed at providing support to those in distress. While the women recognize they are miserable in their marriages, they often believe that if they aren’t being hit, they have no legitimate reason to leave. Somewhere along the line, they’ve come to accept that emotional, verbal and financial abuse are just part of the marital package. To be honest — it’s hard to blame them.

Indeed, for many older women, domestic abuse is still a relatively new concept. The majority did not see physical.... Read More

             

The Challenge of Curbing Smoking in Native American Communities

by Kevyn Burger. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.

Mary Owl still remembers her first cigarette, puffed when she was 13 years old.

“I was never so high in my life,” recalled Owl, now 58. “I inhaled, got dizzy and then sick to my stomach.”

A tribal citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Owl lit up the day she arrived at a boarding school in rural Oklahoma.

Away from home for the first time, the lonely teen was susceptible to peer pressure.

“I was in the bathroom with some girls I’d just met. They asked me if I smoked and I said, ‘sure,’” Owl said. “I went back to my dorm and.... Read More

             

Heart Disease Still Deadly for African American Women

by D. Kevin McNeir for the Washington Informer.

The future remains uncertain for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which opened the door for a major overhaul of the United States healthcare system with President Barack Obama’s signature in 2010, and which continues to be attacked and subjected to legislative revisions initiated by President, Donald J. Trump and his Republican colleagues.

But women, who tend to serve as the primary caregivers for their families while often ignoring their own health, can ill afford to wait until the dust finally clears, particularly when it comes to their hearts.

Often thought of as a “man’s disease,” heart disease stands as the leading cause of death for women in the United.... 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

             

Reframing Aging for Hispanic Older Adults

By Jean Van Ryzin. This post originally appeared on the NCOA blog.

How we talk about aging matters. It shapes both individual and public perceptions. That’s why several national organizations are working together to reframe the story of what it’s like to grow old in America.

Last week, the National Hispanic Council on Aging held a roundtable to address the misconceptions surrounding Hispanic older adults. We asked Dr. Yanira Cruz, NHCOA President & CEO, and Anna Maria Chávez, NCOA Executive Vice President and Chief Growth Officer, to share their perspectives.... Read More

             

Confronting AIDS and Coming Out Taught Us How to Age Well

by John-Manuel Andriote. This post originally appeared on the SAGEMatters blog.

A first-ever survey in 2013 of LGBT San Francisco residents aged 60 to 92 found something startling: 15 percent of the 612 respondents had “seriously considered” committing suicide within the last 12 months. Commissioned by the city’s LGBT Aging Policy Task Force, the study found high degrees of disability as well as poor physical and mental health—both of which are associated with depression. The researchers were understandably concerned by the high percentage of LGBT seniors who had considered suicide.

But look at the numbers in a.... Read More

             

Southeast Asian Americans Speak Out to Protect Affordable Healthcare

For many Southeast Asian Americans, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal fight last year felt personal.

When the ACA was first passed, uninsured rates in Cambodian, Hmong, Lao, and Vietnamese American communities were high. Compared to the 15% of Americans overall who did not have health insurance in 2011, 20% of Cambodian, 20% of Vietnamese, 19% of Laotian, and 16% of Hmong Americans were uninsured. Too many families used emergency rooms as last-resort healthcare providers or went for years without regular check-ups.

Only four years later in 2015, the uninsured rate was cut in half. Thousands of families were finally accessing the preventative and life-saving care that they needed. Some accessed care through the healthcare exchange, supported by subsidies to.... Read More

             
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