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

             

Confronting AIDS and Coming Out Taught Us How to Age Well

by John-Manuel Andriote. This post originally appeared on the SAGEMatters blog.

A first-ever survey in 2013 of LGBT San Francisco residents aged 60 to 92 found something startling: 15 percent of the 612 respondents had “seriously considered” committing suicide within the last 12 months. Commissioned by the city’s LGBT Aging Policy Task Force, the study found high degrees of disability as well as poor physical and mental health—both of which are associated with depression. The researchers were understandably concerned by the high percentage of LGBT seniors who had considered suicide.

But look at the numbers in a.... Read More

             

We Hear You: Why Being Culturally Competent Matters in Aging Services

Salma Abdul* was born and grew up in Bangladesh. Her children left for the US to study, then settled in the country as permanent residents. When her husband died, she found herself alone. Her children, unable to leave their lives in the US, but worried about her aging alone, asked her to come and join them in America. When Abdul arrived in the USA at 69 years of age, she had to find her feet in a brand new country and culture. Her adopted country was technologically more advanced and spoke a language she didn’t understand. Its culture was completely different from hers. Its systems were complex and, because she couldn’t speak fluent English, harder to navigate.

Abdul’s real.... Read More

             

Southeast Asian Americans Speak Out to Protect Affordable Healthcare

For many Southeast Asian Americans, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal fight last year felt personal.

When the ACA was first passed, uninsured rates in Cambodian, Hmong, Lao, and Vietnamese American communities were high. Compared to the 15% of Americans overall who did not have health insurance in 2011, 20% of Cambodian, 20% of Vietnamese, 19% of Laotian, and 16% of Hmong Americans were uninsured. Too many families used emergency rooms as last-resort healthcare providers or went for years without regular check-ups.

Only four years later in 2015, the uninsured rate was cut in half. Thousands of families were finally accessing the preventative and life-saving care that they needed. Some accessed care through the healthcare exchange, supported by subsidies to.... Read More

             
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