While enjoying her 72nd year on the planet, Donna Personna knows her remaining days are numbered. Yet the prospect of her demise doesn’t scare her.
“The end question. ‘The end.’ It’s not a touchy subject for me. I’m irreverent,” said Personna, a transgender woman who grew up in San Jose and now lives in San Francisco. “I learned long ago this was going to come.”
Personna, a beloved drag performer, playwright, and hairdresser, credits her Mexican heritage with teaching her that death is a part of life. She pointed to the annual Dia de los Muertos holiday — the Day of the Dead in.... Read More
To Eliminate Race Disparities in Diabetes, We Must Address Social Determinants of Health
In the United States, diabetes is most prevalent among Southerners and residents of Appalachian regions. Blacks are afflicted more than whites. Over a third of African American seniors are diagnosed as diabetic.
The prevalence of diabetes increases with age, Kelly Zimmerman, spokeswoman for Louisiana’s Department of Health, said last week. Adults ages 65 and older had the highest rate in the state last year at 26.1 percent. Diabetes among all of Louisiana’s adults 18 years and above was 13.6 percent. For the state’s African American adults of.... Read More
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.
As a long-term care advocate, the most common question I get from friends is about access. A friend needs home care for his father with dementia, but he doesn’t know where to start or whether he can afford it. Another friend who has begun applying for Medicaid for her mother soon discovers that the application process is arduous and deeply invasive. Worse, she learns that paying for a nursing home will quickly deplete her mother’s savings—as designed by Medicaid—just to qualify for government support. The safety net for people who need long-term care is fractured, unfair and complicated—a painful realization at the worst possible time.
I think of these scenarios when I’m caught in policy debates about.... Read More
Challenges Loom for Growing Elderly Filipino American Population
The gracefully dressed, pixie-haired 78-year-old has been a breast-cancer survivor the past 16 years. “When I got diagnosed, I said so be it,” she said. “But I’m thankful to God for saving my life.”
She has also been battling diabetes. “I control my food and take my medicine,” she said while hanging out with friends at the Pilipino Senior Resource Center in San Francisco. “I eat a small amount of rice and more protein, vegetables and fruits.”
Health and other concerns pertaining to older Filipino Americans, such as de Guzman, are expected only to heighten as this.... Read More
Carol discovered her passion for creative arts at the age of nine, and at 67 years old she continues to create and inspire others. She completed courses at the Art Institute of Chicago and received a fine arts degree from Columbia College. She currently facilitates the Creative Arts Healing Circle at Affinity Community Services, where she regularly volunteers her time and talent. Carol teaches a variety of painting.... Read More
The first 100 days of the Trump administration have been a cause for concern among many Hispanic older adults and their families. While our attention has been understandably focused on the new administration’s anti-immigrant policies, its efforts to roll back the Affordable Care Act, and its proposed cuts for programs seniors rely on, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has quietly taken a step toward erasing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) seniors from a key survey that helps HHS ensure.... Read More
Culturally Competent Care for South Asian Seniors in New York City
India Home, which is an organization that serves South Asian seniors at its five centers in Queens, New York has had success getting its older adult clients to improve their health by using culturally competent methods. The positive change in attitudes toward disease management and healthy eating was brought about through the organization’s ongoing and successful partnership with New York University’s Center for the Study of Asian American Health (CSAAH). The Center is the leading institute in the US set up to study Asian American health. India Home’s collaboration with the institute helped facilitate several health projects that used culturally appropriate practices to focus on the health of Bengali seniors at the Desi Senior Center, India Home’s.... Read More
NICOA Points to American Indian/Alaska Health Disparities during National Minority Health Month
American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) Elders have long experienced disparities in health and healthcare. A health disparity is a difference in health outcomes from different groups within the population.
Historically, AI/AN communities have had limited access to quality healthcare. One outcome of treaties between AI/AN communities and the federal government is that all federal recognized tribes have a right to healthcare services. The Indian Health Service (IHS)* was created to meet this federal commitment.
Although there are 567 federally recognized tribes to date, there are many more tribes still seeking federal recognition..... Read More
Bridging Health Equity Across Communities: National Minority Health Month 2017
April is designated as National Minority Health Month by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and we join HHS in working to raise awareness about the health challenges, disparities, and resiliencies faced by communities of color, LGBT communities, and American Indian/Alaska Native communities around the country — especially as they relate to aging. All this month, we’ll be highlighting new research, reports, and stories from our communities around health and healthcare.
The theme for this year’s National Minority Health Month is “Bridging Health Equality Across Communities,” which could not be more perfect for the Diverse Elders Coalition, an organization founded to identify the.... Read More
April is National Minority Health Month! We join the US Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health in recognizing the health disparities that continue to affect diverse communities across the United States. Ample research suggests that communities of color in the United States face barriers to health and greater health disparities when compared to white communities, including availability and affordability of healthy food, incidence of diabetes, rates of HIV infection, access to healthcare, and the use and abuse of tobacco and alcohol, just to name a few.
The stress of our nation’s history of racism and exclusion.... Read More
Raising Awareness and Eliminating Health Disparities for National Minority Cancer Awareness Week
When I’ve given trainings to healthcare and social services providers about cancer in the LGBTQ communities, I always find it interesting to ask the audience, “Does it matter who a breast lump spent Valentine’s Day with?” Or, “Does it matter what country the lump’s grandparents were born in?” Most participants say, overwhelmingly, no, a lump is a lump is a lump: we should treat patients the same irrespective of their racial and ethnic backgrounds or their sexual orientation. But as we’ve learned this National Minority Cancer Awareness Week, cancer affects different populations differently, and minority groups in the United States continue to bear a greater cancer burden.
Much of this difference is due to factors like poverty and lack.... Read More