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

             

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

             
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