Despite connectivity, social isolation is not declining—especially among diverse older adults

This article originally appeared in Aging Today, the bimonthly newspaper of the American Society on Aging.

When asked by staff of the Diverse Elders Coalition about the aging services available in her area, Elva, an American Indian elder from New Mexico, relayed how important her local Elder Center was to her and her peers’ well-being: “We as elders need a place to come to, [where we] have meals, do activities and visit with friends and relatives.”

Elva noted that the Elder Center was a place where she could get information about benefits and other available resources. “Many times, as a Native elder, we feel that we don’t exist,” she said.

In our increasingly digitally connected world, there.... Read More

             

Quality of Life Enhanced for Seniors with Companion Animals

by D. Kevin McNeir. This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer

Much has been reported about a paradigm shift within American society which looms on the horizon and cannot be ignored: In less than 20 years, according to U.S. Census data, older adults will outnumber children for the first time in our history. On reaching that milestone in 2035, experts predict, the 78 million older Americans 65 or more will slightly outnumber the 76.7 million children under 18.

Most of these seniors will be women, who have longer life expectancies than men and who will more than likely live at home with the assistance of family caregivers. The majority of the seniors will be baby.... Read More

             

Immigrant elders find relief with affordable housing in NYC, but feel isolated from community

This article originally appeared on the India Home blog.

Nurul Khan and his wife Farida Begum are an older Bengali couple from Queens who lived for 30 years in damp basement apartments in Jamaica, Queens.

“It was so damp I got arthritis,” Farida Begum said to visitors recently. “The basement was freezing.”

The visitors were in Farida Begum’s brand new apartment on 96th Avenue. Tiny and spry, the 58 year old rushed about the apartment getting us snacks and making chai on her brand new stovetop.

“I never saw the sun for all those years. My body used to ache.... Read More

             

Hmong Elders and Depression

By Alice Daniel. This article originally appeared on txhaub.com.

When Yong Yang Xiong arrived in Fresno, California fourteen years ago at the age of 53, he really wanted to find a job. But he couldn’t speak English–and employers told him he was too old. On top of that, he was suffering from chronic physical pain.

“As a petite man, I was given very heavy loads to carry for days and nights,” he said, referring to the six long years he had spent helping the CIA fight its secret war in Laos.

When the war ended, he fled on foot to a refugee camp in Thailand where he spent the next 26 years. He and his family didn’t.... Read More

             

New York City Program Brings Generations Together

by Beth Baker. This piece originally appeared on Next Avenue.

A large room fills with older adults and teenagers in the New York City headquarters of the nonprofit DOROT. They sit down on opposite sides of two long rows of tables filled with black-and-white chess sets.

Dressed in a sweatshirt and jeans, Jessica Nooney, who says she is “almost 80,” plays with Joelle Garcia, 15. Nooney learned chess as a child from her father.

“I’ve always loved to play, and I’m so happy to play with young people,” she says. Unlike when she was raising her teenage children, she adds, “It’s a different relationship when you don’t have to be the authority figure. It’s a.... Read More

             

Poor Public Transportation Can Be a Roadblock to the Everyday Needs of Arab-American Seniors

By Julia Kassem, Detroit Journalism Cooperative

Conversations around Detroit-area public transit in recent months have focused on new routes on Woodward, Gratiot and Michigan Avenue – as well as the Detroit Connector, a new service operating from Ann Arbor to Detroit offered by the University of Michigan that launched October 30.

Yet these discussions around transit development tend to omit those most in need of affordable, reliable and convenient transportation options.

Nationwide, the Pew Foundation reports that while only 18 percent of urban dwellers born in the United States regularly use public transportation, almost 38 percent of foreign-born city residents rely on public transit.

No. 1 Obstacle to Self-Sufficiency

In Metro Detroit, a city without the mass-transit system.... 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

             

A Nursing Home for American Indian Elders Fills Cultural Needs

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

Born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, Kathy Janis was taught to revere the elders in her Oglala Sioux Tribe.

“I was raised to consider every one of them to be a relative. Respect is instilled in us,” she said. “My parents didn’t tell it, they lived it and showed us.”

That’s why Janis prioritized the needs of her older relatives while serving on the Tribal Council. More than a decade ago, the governing body began laying the groundwork to build a nursing home specifically for the tribe’s members. An early step was visiting tribal elders who were scattered in facilities around the country.... Read More

             

Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) and Social Health

This post originally appeared on the NICOA blog.

One aspect of healthy aging that may be overlooked is social health. Although the importance of friends and family to our health is well understood by American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs), in today’s culture many Elders are separated from their communities and therefore from some of this tradition. These connections with our families and friends are incredibly important to our health and wellbeing as Elders.

As the Center for Advancing Health states, “Staying connected to other people through a wide variety of social activities can yield important health consequences as you age… a new study that found that older adults who maintain high levels of.... Read More

             

Aging New York Immigrants Confront Shortage of Culturally Appropriate Services

by Ramón Cuauhtémoc Taylor. This article was originally published by Voice Of America News.

On a fluorescent-lit stage at Desi Senior Center, an instructor leads a group of mostly Muslim Bangladeshi immigrants, ages 60 and older, in a session of balance and core exercises.

Aided by PowerPoint slides, he instructs them to squat in Bengali, then proceeds to count to ten in English. The women, dressed in colorful dupattas and hijabs, stand on the right; men, wearing Tupi prayer caps, on the left. They place their hands on their hips. Some close their eyes.

For five hours a day, three days a week in the basement of Queens, New York’s Jamaica Muslim Center, more than 150 aging.... Read More

             

New Report: LGBT Older Adults Face Unique Challenges to Successful Aging

The Movement Advancement Project (MAP) and SAGE have just released a report, Understanding Issues Facing LGBT Older Adults, which aims to increase awareness of the diverse needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) elders across the country. The report offers a comprehensive look into the experiences of LGBT elders, highlighting the challenges they face across a wide range of topics from health care to financial security and community support, and their resilience in the face of these challenges.

As America’s population rapidly ages (the number of people over 65 will double by 2050) so too do LGBT adults. Currently, there are more than 2.7 million LGBT adults aged.... Read More

             

What do South Asian Elders in NYC Want?

As one of the only non-profits in New York city serving Indian, Pakistani, Indo-Caribbean, and Bangladeshi older adults, India Home recently undertook a survey of Bangladeshi elders the organization serves at its Desi Senior Center in Jamaica in order to gain an objective understanding of their needs. In the past the organization has commissioned reports such as the Attitudes to American Health Care among Elderly South Asians, a 2010 study, where doctors from Brown University conducted research with participants from India Home’s centers to understand the reliance of elderly South Asians on non-Western or alternative forms of medicine such as ayurveda or homeopathy as their preferred first line of defense against illness.

In this tradition of.... Read More

             
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