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

             

I Just Wanna Dance!

Honoring Our Experience, a social services program run by the Shanti Project, sponsors a series of REVIVAL dances to honor long-term HIV survivors in San Francisco. Hank wrote this piece for a talent show at the February 2018 REVIVAL dance and has graciously shared it with the Diverse Elders Coalition for publication on our website.

It’s 1959 and I’m six years old. My family has gathered at my grandparents’ house this Sunday to watch The Ed Sullivan Show. I’m sitting on the cold linoleum floor, watching, as this very tall, thin, very regal-looking woman walks onto.... Read More

             

What does cultural competency mean to you?

A married, gay older couple living in a nursing home introduced themselves as brothers to their healthcare providers and fellow residents because they were afraid of discrimination. A limited-English proficient Chinese American older adult was exhibiting signs of dementia, but her husband thought they were natural symptoms of aging and didn’t tell his family members or doctor what they were experiencing. A home care worker could not figure out how to remove the traditional dress that an American Indian Elder was wearing, so she cut the dress off — not knowing that in the Elder’s culture, clothing was only cut off of a person’s body after they had died.

Stories about diverse elders experiencing a lack of culturally competent care.... Read More

             

It’s February, And I’m STILL Not Exercising Every Week

It’s almost the end February. Would you look at that.

The end of February, and already I’m not exercising every week (or ever). I haven’t finished my crochet project. To be sure, I did register for the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (priorities, people!), but I haven’t been printing and solving crossword puzzles on paper in preparation.

February is a curious month. It sits there, between January’s New Year and March’s springtime, pretending to be innocuous.

Don’t be fooled: February is not innocuous. It bears the weight of all of our shattered dreams. It is the month of reckoning.

In most years, late December through January has a predictable arc. It’s cold, dark, and snowy. BUT, the days are getting longer..... Read More

             

The Importance of Sleep for Our Elders – Winter Edition

The National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) Executive Director Randella Bluehouse states, “NICOA encourages our Elders to sleep well and be healthy this winter season, and throughout the year.” Learning the causes of sleep deprivation, especially in the winter, and how to overcome them are important steps for our Elders to take in order to get a good night’s rest and increase their overall physical wellbeing.

Why Sleep Is Important

Sleep deprivation, a lack of sleep that affects a person’s performance when awake, includes symptoms such as having trouble staying awake during daily activities and the need for caffeine to.... Read More

             

The Day Shift

by Daniel Blue Tyx. This article originally appeared in the Texas Observer.

“La calavera,” the caller intoned, as Beatriz García placed a turquoise glass bead over the skull-and-crossbones icon on one of the two brightly colored cards on the table in front of her. It was 9 a.m. on a Tuesday morning at Lindos Momentos Adult Day Care in McAllen, and the chalupa — a bingo-like game featuring iconography drawn from Mexican folklore — was already in full swing.

Beatriz, 74, has five children and worked for 21 years in a local elementary school cafeteria. Her husband, Guillermo, sits at her side. He’s 80 and picked cotton for 25 cents an hour as a migrant farmworker in his youth,.... Read More

             

Possibilities: Creative Aging through the Arts

This post originally appeared on the India Home blog.

It’s India Independence Day, 2017,  and at the celebration being held at Queens Borough Hall in Queens, NY, the young announcer invites the next act to come up on stage. Ten women from India Home file in and start dancing, their bright white, orange and red saris billowing, their feet making dexterous patterns to the insistently upbeat music. The scene is remarkable not for the fact that there are Indian dancers in Queens, but because the women swaying on stage are all between 65 and 85 years old.

It is no coincidence that these women are so fit and vigorous..... Read More

             

Are South Asians more at risk for heart disease? Yes, and now there’s a new bill in Congress to address that!

This post originally appeared on the India Home blog.

Last year, Narendra Butala, a long time member of India Home, was facing a health crisis. He had been feeling breathless for a while. His blood pressure would drop suddenly and he would sweat profusely.

Still, he was afraid to go to the cardiologist because his brother had got a pacemaker in 2004 and had passed away shortly after. Even as he worried about the condition of his heart, he heard from one of his relatives. Pacemaker technology had changed, she said, and urged him to get a check-up. Finally, in July, a few months after his 78th birthday, Butala, took the plunge and went to Mount Sinai Hospital in.... Read More

             

Seniors Dance for Health, Life—and to Beat the Blues

by Jacqueline García. This article originally appeared on New America Media.

When a group of elderly women dance, their eyes focus on their hands, their movements and their fans.

Their dresses are colorful, flowers adorn their hair, and their shoes have heels, not too high but elegant.

“Dancing is art and is life,” said Ana Miranda, age 65, after a presentation at the World Conference on Geriatrics and Gerontology in San Francisco in late July. The once-in-four-years conference attracted 6,000 experts in aging from 75 countries.

Miranda along with the other women belong to the San Francisco Mission Neighborhood Center (MNC) Healthy Aging program. She has attended the senior center for more than five years and said the.... Read More

             

Challenges Loom for Growing Elderly Filipino American Population

by Neil Gonzalez. This article originally appeared on New America Media.

Betty de Guzman takes her ailments in stride.

The gracefully dressed, pixie-haired 78-year-old has been a breast-cancer survivor the past 16 years. “When I got diagnosed, I said so be it,” she said. “But I’m thankful to God for saving my life.”

She has also been battling diabetes. “I control my food and take my medicine,” she said while hanging out with friends at the Pilipino Senior Resource Center in San Francisco. “I eat a small amount of rice and more protein, vegetables and fruits.”

Health and other concerns pertaining to older Filipino Americans, such as de Guzman, are expected only to heighten as this.... Read More

             

Healthy Aging Starts with a Healthy Mouth, and Health Equity Starts with Us

Last week, the Diverse Elders Coalition traveled to Alexandria, VA for the Oral Health America Medicare Symposium. Advocates, policymakers, and providers convened for this Symposium to discuss how to get a dental benefit included in Medicare. A recent study found that 52% of older adults are unaware that Medicare doesn’t cover routine dental care – maybe you didn’t know that, either!

Given how important oral health is to overall health – if you can’t chew or swallow food, or if you are living with chronic pain from infection or gum disease, your overall health is certainly impacted! – it is shocking that once an elder turns 65, they are their own for.... Read More

             
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