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

             

Addressing the Social Determinants of Brain Health

by Jason Resendez and Stephanie Monroe. This article originally appeared on SaludAmerica!

In our work with the UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Alzheimer’s Disease Disparities Engagement Network, we are reflecting on the numerous challenges and injustices people of color face when it comes to healthcare in the U.S.

For example, African Americans and Latinos face a higher risk for some of our country’s most common health problems, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, stroke, Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

To understand and address these disparities, greater attention must be paid to the role of.... Read More

             

Honey: A Story of Defeating PTSD

by Chunxiang Jin. This article originally appeared in the World Journal. To read the original article in Chinese, click here.

Cheryl “Honey” Dupris has multiple identities. She is a strong woman, a Native American, a paratrooper, and an Iraq war and Afghanistan war veteran who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

However, Honey is not the typical PTSD sufferer. She embraces the illness, bravely speaks out about her feelings, and works to enjoy every moment in life. If you talk and hang out with her, you would not even realize that she is a victim of PTSD. Instead, you would notice her vivacious laughter and squeals at a party, her unique fist bump with strangers, and.... 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

             

Facing Mortality Head-On

This article originally appeared in A&U Magazine.

For a handful of months now, I’ve been contemplating a decision that I know many long-term HIV survivors have contemplated before me.

Letting go.

That is, I have considered going off my medications—all of them—and letting Nature and the virus just take their course. As a long-time advocate of a patient’s right to choose when and how to end his own life when facing a terminal disease, the decision to cease medication seems to me a perfectly rational, honorable decision available to me.

I keep it open as an.... Read More

             

Do NYC’s Seniors Need More Mental Health First Aid?

By Roshan Abraham. This article originally appeared in City Limits.

When two suicides by seniors occurred within a year at Knickerbocker Village, a 1,590-apartment housing complex in the Two Bridges section of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, it rocked the community, says Councilmember Margaret Chin, who represents the 1st Council District where the complex sits.

In November of 2017, a terminally-ill Chinese community leader in his 60’s took his own life. Months later, in July of 2018, a 78 year-old former tenant association president and Vietnam veteran committed suicide.

Knickerbocker Village provides mental-health services for seniors through its Naturally Occuring Retirement Community, or NORC, an unplanned retirement community where senior services are funded.... Read More

             

Chinese elders ‘walk the middle path’ to better mental health

by Liz Tung and Jad Sleiman. This article was originally published by WHYY.

It’s a Friday morning, and the Selfhelp Benjamin Rosenthal Senior Center in Flushing, Queens is bustling with activity.

In one room, around two-dozen Asian seniors are practicing tai chi. Nearby, another group rehearses an opera, their voices rising above the reedy twang of traditional Chinese instruments.

But Jane Qiu, the program director here, says Selfhelp’s seniors weren’t always so engaged.

“By observation, I can see some members, when they came here, were so sad and just crying,” Qiu says. “And now they are just involved in all activities, smiling. You can see their faces here, just fewer couch potatoes.”

Selfhelp is one of 25.... Read More

             

New Report Identifies Unique Challenges for LGBT Community Facing Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias

LGBT and Dementia – a new issues brief developed by the Alzheimer’s Association and SAGE outlines the unique challenges facing LGBT older adults living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias and their caregivers. The brief outlines the unique issues that arise when Alzheimer’s disease, sexual orientation, and gender identification and expression intersect, allowing advocates and care providers to better meet the needs of LGBT elders and their caregivers facing dementia.

“Living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia is not easy for anyone,” said Sam Fazio, Ph.D., director of quality care and psychosocial research, Alzheimer’s Association. “But LGBT individuals can often face additional challenges that need to be considered and addressed to ensure this population.... Read More

             

Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, and as we have previously shared mental illness affects one in five adults in America and is a leading cause of disability. Unfortunately, almost two-thirds of people with a diagnosable mental illness do not seek help, and racial and ethnic groups are even less likely to get help.

Furthermore, studies have shown that mental health is a major concern for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). Specifically, AI/ANs have a higher prevalence of a variety of mental health conditions, experience PTSD twice as often as the general population, and are known to experience serious psychological distress 1.5 times more than the general population.

#MyStoryMyWay

This year.... Read More

             

Alzheimer’s: The Disease that Steals Memories

by D. Kevin McNeir for the Washington Informer.

For those who, like me, have witnessed the slow but inevitable erosion of a loved one’s memories due to a mysterious form of dementia which increasingly strips them of the ability to remember longtime friends, to recall the steps needed to perform tasks once executed almost without thinking — even taking away navigational skills that previously led them to spaces that had held a special place in their hearts — Alzheimer’s disease and its impact can seem like a death sentence.

And while medical research has yet to provide a.... Read More

             

Hey Google, what’s Alzheimer’s?

Advances in technology and data analysis are shaping the ways we identify, treat, and understand public health challenges like Alzheimer’s, a progressive brain disease that erodes memory and thinking skills. As the sixth leading cause of death in America, Alzheimer’s is distablizing our healthcare system, economy, and local communities. Its remarkable cost, about $277 billion annually, is even limiting the ability of states to invest in early childhood education. This multifaceted healthcare crisis is ripe for disruption and UsAgainstAlzheimer’s is fostering a dialogue on the power of tech to do just that by leveraging big data, machine learning, and digital technologies to improve detection, upskill caregivers, and to increase public awareness. Below are a few of the key areas that.... Read More

             

African American Seniors Struggle to Find Therapists Who Understand

by Jeneé Darden for KQED’s California Report. You can read the original story here or listen to the original broadcast here.

Choosing the right mental health therapist means finding connection and trust. For some African American seniors living in the San Francisco Bay Area, for instance, finding that therapist takes extra work. Finding someone they trust and who understands the challenges older people face is important, but African American seniors say another major factor is that the provider understands race and culture.

Paula Marie Parker, 64, is a retired newspaper journalist. She stays active in the Oakland community as a health advocate for people of color and as a storyteller. Parker’s family.... Read More

             
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