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

             

Immigrant elders find relief with affordable housing in NYC, but feel isolated from community

This article originally appeared on the India Home blog.

Nurul Khan and his wife Farida Begum are an older Bengali couple from Queens who lived for 30 years in damp basement apartments in Jamaica, Queens.

“It was so damp I got arthritis,” Farida Begum said to visitors recently. “The basement was freezing.”

The visitors were in Farida Begum’s brand new apartment on 96th Avenue. Tiny and spry, the 58 year old rushed about the apartment getting us snacks and making chai on her brand new stovetop.

“I never saw the sun for all those years. My body used to ache.... Read More

             

Pains, Trains, and no Automobiles: Abu Sayeed’s Commute Highlights Transportation Difficulties for Elders in NYC

This article originally appeared on the India Home blog.

Three mornings a week, Abu Sayeed, 64, wakes up in his home in Cyprus Hills in Brooklyn, NY, worrying about the subway. He wonders if he’ll manage get the right train. How long will he have to wait? As he gets ready for his long walk to the station – putting on a cap, a thick sweater, sports shoes – he worries if he’ll make it in time to catch the exercise class he loves so much at the Desi Senior Center in faraway Jamaica, Queens.

His journey begins at the Cypress Hills subway station in Brooklyn where he catches the J train to the.... Read More

             

4 Ways to Keep Your Cultural Traditions in Retirement

by Kimberley Fowler. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.

Culture means different things to different people, but no matter who you speak to, there’s agreement it’s important. In fact, over the last 40 years there have been numerous studies showing that culture actually shapes happiness.

That’s why so many retirement communities emphasize cultural menus and programming for residents.  As Americans age, it’s critical to uphold cultural connections, especially when remaining at home is no longer possible. The challenge then becomes finding a retirement community that’s the right “fit” culturally.

For some, finding a cultural fit is.... Read More

             

Older Americans Month: Engage at Every Age

May is Older Americans Month! This year, the theme is Engage at Every Age, which emphasizes that you are never too old (or young) to take part in activities that can enrich your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It also celebrates the many ways in which older adults make a difference in our communities.

How to Participate in Older Americans Month:

Join the ACL and AoA in the Older Americans Month Selfie Challenge! They want to see how you’re engaging. Simply take a selfie (or have someone take your photo) and tweet it with the hashtag #OAM18 Connect.... Read More
             

50 Years After Fair Housing Act, LGBT People Still Vulnerable to Housing Discrimination

by Kelly Kent. This article originally appeared on the SAGE Matters blog.

April 11, 2018, marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of Fair Housing Act, a pivotal piece of legislation that laid the groundwork for housing protections for marginalized populations in the United States. They say those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, so it’s worth a look back at how things have and have not changed in terms of fair housing since 1968—and just how the legislation was passed in the first place.

In 1968, America was an extremely segregated society with distinct white and black neighborhoods. Racial and socioeconomic inequality were pervasive, creating a divide.... 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

             

Intergenerational Programs Thrive in Rural Minnesota

by Beth Baker. This post originally appeared on Next Avenue.

Rick Ramey, 82, has always loved monarch butterflies. So when his community of Moose Lake, Minn., built a new public pavilion, he floated the idea of establishing butterfly gardens there.

“I thought this was an ideal spot, down by the river,” he said. The community embraced the idea, and before long Ramey was organizing children to plant marsh milkweed, a food source for monarchs. He now is invited to local schools to teach students about the butterfly life cycle.

Among those working alongside Ramey in planting the gardens was Sebastien Blondo, 11. “I’ve always loved butterflies and the monarch,” he said. He’s learned a lot volunteering with.... 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

             

Pat Baldwin: Advocating for LGBTQ Elders in Michigan

by Adam Polaski, Freedom for All Americans. This post originally appeared on the SAGE blog.

Five years ago, Pat Baldwin walked into the office of the executive director at the Hannan Foundation, an organization dedicated to preserving the dignity of elders in the state of Michigan, and took a seat. Pat, who is the director of the Hannan Center for Lifelong Learning, wanted to speak with the foundation’s director about an issue close to her heart—an issue for which she knew Hannan was uniquely suited to make a difference.

Having worked with older adults and the aging population at Hannan for the past 17 years, Pat recalls that she had seen an increase in troubling.... Read More

             

Needed: More Community Support for People With Dementia

By Sandy Markwood, CEO of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. This post originally appeared on Next Avenue.

Our country has reached a critical moment. The aging of the baby boom generation and the fact that people are living longer is driving tremendous growth in the numbers of older adults. By 2030, one in five Americans will be age 65 or older. And statistics show that 90 percent of this population will want to age at home and in their communities.

To achieve this goal, older adults will likely need access to local services and supports — and their caregivers will need assistance, too. Providing those services is what members of the National Association.... Read More

             
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