War, Trauma, and the Mental Health of Vietnam War-Era Older Adults

After the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, many Vietnamese people fled their war-torn country for the United States in search for a better life. Thousands of Vietnamese adults, children, and families crammed onto boats and traveled to the United States leaving their belongings, loved ones, and former lives behind. These people lost everything except for their memories of the fall of Saigon, the horrors of communist re-education camps, and the atrocities of the Vietnam War. For many Vietnamese individuals, these memories may transpire psychological trauma similar to the many Vietnam War-era U.S. veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur after a person experiences or observes.... Read More

             

Hatefas’ Story: Public Assistance Allowed My Refugee Family to Dream for a Better Future

Born in Santa Ana, CA, to two Muslim refugee survivors of the Cambodian genocide, Hatefas Yop wasn’t aware of her family’s use of public services when she was a young girl. After all, her peers in her elementary school all hailed from the local neighborhood, where many immigrant and refugee families had to live in one-bedroom apartments subsidized by Section 8 housing. She didn’t understand the melancholy in an elder whom Hatefas referred to as “Grandma,” when she said her food stamps (paper at the time) weren’t ‘real money.’ “But you could use it to.... Read More

             

For Aging Immigrants, Food from Their Homelands Is Key to Happiness

by Jaya Padmanabhan. This article originally appeared on The Bold Italic.

“Do you have drumsticks?” my 85-year-old mother asks the cashier at the checkout counter at Madras Groceries in Sunnyvale, California. The woman points to a pile of long, narrow, cylindrical vegetables near the counter. A half-hour later, a quick inventory of my mother’s cart reveals drumsticks, taro roots, squash, long beans, okra, winter melons, pointed gourd, snake gourd, spices, snack packets of murukkus and a bag of brown basmati rice.

Food bought, cooked, served and eaten is collectively the barometer of my mother’s moods, which are intricately entangled with her health. When she’s bustling around the kitchen, cooking sambar, kootuor olan with squash and winter melon,.... Read More

             

Elder Refugees In Kentucky At Risk for Hunger

by Rhonda Miller. This article originally appeared on WKU Public Radio. This is part one of a three part series; you can read part one here and read part two here.

Feeding Kentucky, a nonprofit with a mission to alleviate hunger across the Bluegrass State, reports that food insecurity is a reality for one in 10 residents age 60 and older.

Elder refugees

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.

in Kentucky face an ever higher risk of hunger due to language barriers and lack of transportation.

On a recent rainy afternoon in Louisville,.... Read More

             

Louisville Program for Elder Refugees Is A Buffer Against Isolation

by Rhonda Miller. This article originally appeared on WKU Public Radio. This is part two of a three part story; read part one here and read part three here.

When elder refugees arrive in America they leave behind violence or religious persecution, as well as family, culture and their native language. A program in Louisville, Kentucky helps refugees who are 60 and older transition to American life and avoid isolation.

This is a protection against isolation – a social hall alive with music that inspires clapping and dancing among refugees in their 60s, 70s, 80s and early 90s. It’s part of the Louisville Refugee Elder Program that serves arrivals.... Read More

             

Elder Refugees in the Bluegrass State Face Challenge of Language Barriers

by Rhonda Miller. This article originally appeared on WKU Public Radio. This is part one of a three part series; read part two here and read part three here.

One of the biggest barriers refugees face when they arrive in America is learning English.  A program in Louisville, Kentucky helps refugees who are 60 and older cross the language barrier.

“How long has she been in the United States?”

(Conversation in Kinyarwanda language) “One year and five months.”

“So she came here when she was 88 years old?”

“She was 89.”

Interpreter Patrick Bagaza speaks with 90-year-old Therese Nyamubyeyi during a trip with the Louisville Refugee Elder Program to.... Read More
             

Deportees with Few-to-No Options in Mexico

by Jacqueline García. This article was originally published on La Opinión. To read the original article in Spanish, click here. ||  por Jacqueline García. Este artículo fue publicado originalmente en La Opinión. Para leer el artículo original en español, haga clic aquí.

Manuel Ramirez tried to endure the pain and discomfort while he was cleaning an open wound on his left knee on a Sunday afternoon in December. He said about two months prior he had surgery but hasn’t healed.

Quite the opposite, his knee was swollen and seemed to need medical care. However, Ramirez, 52, couldn’t ask for immediate care because he lives in a tent in a park in Tijuana,.... Read More

             

Five Inspirational Stories for Women’s History Month

In 1987, March was declared Women’s History Month, a time to commemorate the vital role of women in shaping history. Women’s History Month is a time to celebrate women of all backgrounds, to acknowledge the importance of their roles in our lives, and to support their efforts to make the world a better place. Women have shaped history through their leadership, courage, strength, and compassion. Although many of the contributions of women have been recognized and celebrated, women still face inequality in many aspects of their lives, reminding us that we have more work to do. As we celebrate the countless achievements made by women across all aspects of life, we must also support their fight towards social justice. Women’s.... Read More

             

An impact that transcends generations: Older adults also suffer the consequences of immigration policies

This article originally appeared on Mundo Hispánico. To read the original article in Spanish, click here.

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Lucia Hernandez Soto gets the tortillas ready for the traditional “pozole” soup for Saturday with the meticulous attention to detail and gentle touch that she learned back in her small hometown. As she heats the shredded chicken to add to the soup, she takes the hominy to pour in the pot. An avocado that will garnish the day’s lunch peeks over the corner of the kitchen counter.

For this Mexican woman who arrived from Guerrero some 20 years ago, “pozole” is one of the dishes that fill her most with pride. Her greatest concern.... Read More

             

Protecting Southeast Asian American Families

In a recent essay published in AAPI blog Reappropriate, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) executive director Quyen Dinh recounted what is what like for her to grow up poor and not know it.

In elementary school, my day started with getting breakfast from the cafeteria window, where I got to choose a cereal box along with a small carton of milk from our cafeteria lady, Angie.  She had short curly silver hair and always happily provided us our breakfast, along with a great smile.

For lunch, I lined up with the rest of my classmates to get lunch from Angie, too. Each of us carried a small envelope with our names on it.

I didn’t realize,.... Read More

             

SEARAC Toolkit Sheds Light on Public Charge Proposal

The Trump Administration has proposed broadening the set of government services considered when determining whether an individual is a ‘public charge,’ a term applied to someone who is likely to rely on government assistance for support. If a person is considered a public charge, they may be denied a green card.

Seniors and parents of U.S. citizens are a significant, and growing, segment of immigrants to the U.S. and are critical to the well-being of intergenerational families. Between 1990 and 2010, the number of immigrants age 65 and older grew from 2.7 million to nearly 5 million. The number of parents of U.S. citizens who have been admitted as legal permanent residents more than tripled between 1994 and 2016. In making it.... Read More

             
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