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


65 is the New 80

This article originally appeared in A&U Magazine.

As I write this article, slightly more than a month before my 65th birthday, I wish was eagerly anticipating a lovely fun-filled celebration. But I know better. I will most likely spend the day in bed with the covers pulled over my head, wondering, “What the hell happened?!”

Not that long ago—although it feels like a lifetime—I was a very active, respected wrestler and amateur MMA fighter—I have a championship belt hanging on my wall that I won in an eight-man MMA tournament in 2001 at age forty-eight. Today,.... Read More


A Gift From My Grandmother: An Embrace of Life — and Aging

by Jeneé Darden. This article was originally published by KQED Public Radio.

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


When Food Stamps Pass As Tickets To Better Health

By Courtney Perkes. This article originally appeared on Kaiser Health News.

Rebeca Gonzalez grew up eating artichokes from her grandmother’s farm in the central Mexican state of Tlaxcala. But for years after emigrating to the U.S., she did not feed them to her own kids because the spiky, fibrous vegetables were too expensive on this side of the border.

When she prepared meals at her family’s home in Garden Grove, Calif., Gonzalez would also omit avocados, a staple of Mexican cuisine that is often costly here.

“I saw the prices and I said, ‘No, never mind,’” said Gonzalez,.... Read More


A Culturally Relative Approach to Outreach in Rural & Frontier Communities

by Clarissa Durán, Program Manager for the Rio Arriba County – Northern NM BEC. This article originally appeared on the website of the National Council on Aging (NCOA).

The Northern New Mexico Benefits Enrollment Center (NNM BEC) is a partnership of entities in North Central New Mexico comprised of Rio Arriba County Health and Human Services (RAC HHS) Department Senior Care Services Division, Santa Fe County Human Services Department, Holy Cross Hospital in Taos, and North Central Community Based Services (a non-profits agency in the northern frontier area of Rio Arriba County) as well as many nonprofit supporting partners.

Covering an 8,000 square mile tri-county area, the NNM BEC serves many rural.... Read More


Undocumented Latinos Aging in New England’s Shadows

By Tibisay Zea. This story originally ran in El Planeta. To read the original article in Spanish, click here.

On every warm and sunny afternoon, Pedro Arellano, 68, sings Mexican boleros and rancheras accompanying himself with the guitar at an emblematic park in Boston. He seems to camouflage himself under the foliage, but there he is, in the shade, where many Bostonians have heard him, for years–yet very few know who he is, or would be able to recognize him.

Arellano arrived in the United States in 1991. He left his wife and six children in Puebla, his hometown in Mexico, and put himself in the hands of a coyote to cross the border, running away from.... Read More


Paiute Tribe Elders Navigate a Faltering Health Care System

By Debra Utacia Krol, High Country News

Dennis and Betty Smartt live in a neatly painted white-and-blue home on the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Reservation, on the Nevada-Oregon border. They’ve spent their entire lives here, in this small tribal community of 600 people.

The Smartts, members of the Paiute Tribe, exemplify the challenges Native elders face as they get older in remote communities with poor health care access.

At their home, Dennis’ handcrafted eagle feather headdress adorns a stand in the living room. He recently returned from a trip to Fort Bidwell, Calif., where he spoke at a traditional gathering of elders for prayer and cultural talks. That trip illustrated some of the challenges the Smartts and.... Read More


This Holiday Season, Help LGBT Older Adults Connect with Community

Today, the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), SAGE, and the Diverse Elders Coalition released a new infographic in time for the holidays with resource links and information for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults seeking support, as well as information about the challenges facing LGBT older adults.

Click here to print, download and share the new infographic!

For many older adults, the holidays can be a difficult time. However, this season can be particularly difficult for LGBT older adults. The lack of social and legal acceptance, both historically and currently,.... Read More


Diverse Elders Coalition urges CMS Innovation Center to identify and meet the needs of diverse older adults


Jenna McDavid, National Managing Coordinator

Today, the Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) submitted a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center in response to a request for feedback on a proposed new direction for the Center. In the DEC’s comments, we urged CMS to keep the needs of diverse older adults at the forefront of their work, and to make every effort to identify the diverse elders in the U.S. population by collecting comprehensive, disaggregated data about race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Click here to read the letter.

By 2040, one in three older Americans will be a person of color.... Read More


Aging as LGBT: Two Stories

by Heron Greenesmith. This post originally appeared on the Justice in Aging blog.

Tina and Jackie were born in the same town in 1947. Despite similar beginnings, their lives take very different turns. In 1967, Tina meets Frank. And Jackie meets Frances. As a same-sex couple, Jackie and Frances couldn’t marry, were denied spousal benefits, and experienced a lifetime of discrimination and lost wages. Fast forward to today, and Jackie, like so many other older adults, struggles with financial insecurity, social isolation, and overall lack of health and well-being, simply because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT).

Unfortunately, Jackie’s story.... Read More


Black, Gray and Gay: The Perils of Aging LGBTQ People of Color

by Chandra Thomas Whitfield. This article originally appeared on

Cecelia Hayden Smith, 72, knows exactly how she wants to live out the remainder of her golden years: lounging lazily on the porch of a cozy house tucked along a quiet, treelined street in Washington, D.C.

She’d greet her partner each morning with a homemade country breakfast, and their afternoons and evenings would be filled with lively games of Spades and Bid Whist with a dozen or so housemates — all fellow LGBTQ elders.

“I’ve already picked out my rocking chair,” the retired substance abuse counselor quipped. “Just call me ‘Mama C,’ and make sure my room is in the front, so I can always see.... Read More


When Health Policy Advocacy Doesn’t See Color, It Doesn’t See Me

by Ana Maria De La Rosa. This post originally appeared on the Community Catalyst Health Policy Hub.

Our advocacy around race and health requires us to address racism as a cause of poor health, recognizing that without addressing this root cause, attempts at solving health inequities will continuously fall short. However, in order to bring full awareness to the consequences of racism on health outcomes, we must take a step even further back, and address the ways structural racism is embedded in health policy and health advocacy.

When the foundations for the health advocacy strategies that shape our policies are flawed, we build structures that benefit some people above others. We then spend.... Read More

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