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

             

It’s February, And I’m STILL Not Exercising Every Week

It’s almost the end February. Would you look at that.

The end of February, and already I’m not exercising every week (or ever). I haven’t finished my crochet project. To be sure, I did register for the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (priorities, people!), but I haven’t been printing and solving crossword puzzles on paper in preparation.

February is a curious month. It sits there, between January’s New Year and March’s springtime, pretending to be innocuous.

Don’t be fooled: February is not innocuous. It bears the weight of all of our shattered dreams. It is the month of reckoning.

In most years, late December through January has a predictable arc. It’s cold, dark, and snowy. BUT, the days are getting longer..... 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

             

Undocumented Latinos Aging in New England’s Shadows

By Tibisay Zea. This story originally ran in El Planeta. To read the original article in Spanish, click here.

On every warm and sunny afternoon, Pedro Arellano, 68, sings Mexican boleros and rancheras accompanying himself with the guitar at an emblematic park in Boston. He seems to camouflage himself under the foliage, but there he is, in the shade, where many Bostonians have heard him, for years–yet very few know who he is, or would be able to recognize him.

Arellano arrived in the United States in 1991. He left his wife and six children in Puebla, his hometown in Mexico, and put himself in the hands of a coyote to cross the border, running away from.... Read More

             

Lasting Friendship Makes Aging Worth Living

This post originally appeared on the Chinese American Healthy Aging blog.

95% of the older U.S. Chinese population in Chicago rely on kin-centered social networks for support and resources, according to an aging study focused on the Chinese population. But echoing a popular Chinese idiom, what is rare is more valuable (物以稀為貴), may make friendship an outstanding predictor of physical and mental health beyond 60, especially for immigrants.

Mrs. Liang, Mrs. Wu and Mrs. Ma each emigrated to Chicago from a city called Toishan in Guangdong, China, in the mid 1990s. They met at the Chinatown Branch of the Chicago Public Library. Speaking the same dialect, Toishanese, and living within 10 minutes.... Read More

             

Breaking stigmas, creating awareness, and increasing age-sensitive education are three key elements to improve the lives Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers

This post originally appeared on the NHCOA blog.

The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) continues its work by looking for strategies that amplify the voices of thousands of families facing Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, so their specific needs can be included in the decision-making process across public health.

Latinos face a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias because they are not only living longer (2.5 years longer than whites and 8 years longer than blacks), but they also face severe health disparities, including high levels of hunger, higher rates of type 2 diabetes incidence and complication rates, and lack of access to health insurance.

Around 18% of Hispanic.... Read More

             

Brain Health & Inequality: Reflections on the Aspen Summit on Inequality & Opportunity

The 2017 Aspen Summit on Inequality & Opportunity brought together a diverse mix of policymakers, thought leaders, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and practitioners to address the nation’s widening opportunity gap. Tucked between to-be-expected panels on manufacturing and hunger, was a 15 minute talk by Dr. Sarah Enos Watamura, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Denver and Director of the Child Health & Development Lab, on the biology of adversity. She opened by posing the question: How could a consideration of biology inform policy and practice solutions for moving families from inequality to opportunity?

Dr. Watamura highlighted research by.... Read More

             

Ending the Disparate Impact of Alzheimer’s Disease on African Americans

monroe-233x300by Stephanie Johnson Monroe, Director of the African American Network Against Alzheimer’s. This article originally appeared on the LEAD Coalition website. The LEAD Coalition is a diverse and growing national coalition of more than 90 member organizations committed to overcoming Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. To learn more, click here.

African Americans experiencing health disparities is not new. In fact, according to former Surgeon General of the United States and Honorary Chair of the African American Network Against Alzheimer’s, Dr. David Satcher, race based health disparities in the United States are both.... Read More

             

“These Seniors are Survivors:” Serving Cambodian Elders in Chicago

This week, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) Executive Director Quyen Dinh travels to Chicago to talk about the needs of Southeast Asian American refugee elders with the Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) at the American Society on Aging conference. The DEC is the only national coalition dedicated to raising awareness about the unique needs of LGBT elders, American Indian/Alaska Native elders, immigrant elders, and elders of color.

The seniors program of the Chicago-area Cambodian Association of Illinois (CAI) demonstrates that while many of the needs of Southeast Asian American elders are similar to those of other diverse seniors, they also have very specific needs: culturally, linguistically, and as survivors of.... Read More

             

They Fought for the U.S. in Laos. Now Many Older Hmong Fight Depression.

by Alice Daniel. Alice reported this story for KQED public radio’s statewide “California Report,” as part of a Journalists in Aging Fellowship supported by New America Media, the Gerontological Society of America and the Silver Century Foundation. This story was first published by New America Media.

Click to hear the radio report of this story.

Dia Yang is a cultural broker at the Fresno Center for New Americans. She helps Southeast Asian refugees acclimate to the United States.

On this rainy day, she’s working with a dozen older Hmong men and women who find life in America really hard.

Yang instructs them in a crafts activity: decorating little paper gift.... Read More

             

Every Minute Counts

Every 66 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease; every minute, a family is changed forever. In the coming decades, the number of Latino families impacted by this progressive brain disease will grow dramatically due to an increase in the Latino older adult population and higher rates of of diabetes and heart disease, both risk factors for Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

According to a recent report by the USC Roybal Institute on Aging and the LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s Network, the number of Latinos living with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia could reach 1.1 million by 2030 and cost Latino families as much as $30 billion annually. However, Latinos are less likely.... Read More

             
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