In normative aging, the evolution from adult to older adult often parallels exposure to ageist societal attitudes and behaviors. Seniors are adapting to changing circumstances of bereavement, relocation, and the digital divide of technology. Some are exploring social media to close the gap of connection to family and friends, while adjusting to retirement and smaller social circles. With all these moving pieces, the holidays come and may cast a shadow of isolation and potential loneliness to once vibrant, active and engaged individuals.
The holiday season can bring on holiday blues or ‘winter blues’ for vulnerable populations of older adults and elders. Triggers for social isolation during the holidays included changes in family structure that may result in more significant numbers.... Read More
Fighting loneliness and isolation with The Harmony Exchange
Older adults suffering from social isolation and loneliness are at a higher risk of developing physical and mental health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. According to a 2016 study published in Gerontology, up to 29 percent of American adults aged over 70 years report being lonely. Although often overlooked, loneliness is a real and growing epidemic that affects the overall health of older individuals. This is an especially prominent issue for older adults that are either homebound or have decreased mobility, as the only people they may see on a regular basis are home aides or family.
The Harmony Exchange was created to combat exactly this.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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