For Older Women, Domestic Abuse Often Isn’t Physical

by Jess Stonefield. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.

“Well — he doesn’t hit me.”

It’s a phrase I hear when talking to older women through Humble Warrior, a free compassionate listening service aimed at providing support to those in distress. While the women recognize they are miserable in their marriages, they often believe that if they aren’t being hit, they have no legitimate reason to leave. Somewhere along the line, they’ve come to accept that emotional, verbal and financial abuse are just part of the marital package. To be honest — it’s hard to blame them.

Indeed, for many older women, domestic abuse is still a relatively new concept. The majority did not see physical.... 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

             

Finding Housing When Mom Doesn’t Speak English

by Debbie Swanson. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.

Finding assisted living or nursing care for a parent is never easy. The situation is further complicated when the individual in question is not fluent in English because he or she either never became totally versed in the language or aging has introduced difficulties.

“Patients with dementia often revert to their mother language,” explains Dr. Ivan Merkelj, medical director for Palm Beach PACE at MorseLife Health Systems. “The part of the brain that stores a learned language is different than the mother language, and they feel more comfortable with their.... Read More

             

A Look at the Lives of Trans and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults

By Grace Birnstengel. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.

Very little history, imagery or understanding of transgender older adults exists in the public sphere. The stories that circulate are often sensationalized, come from a lens of voyeurism or focus on celebrity figures.

To Survive on This Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults, a photography and interview project turned into a book from photographer Jess T. Dugan and social worker Vanessa Fabbre — both based in St. Louis — provides a level of representation previously unseen for this community. The book features 65 portraits of trans older adults between ages 50 and 90. Dugan was the photographer and Fabbre led the interviews with.... Read More

             

The Challenge of Curbing Smoking in Native American Communities

by Kevyn Burger. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.

Mary Owl still remembers her first cigarette, puffed when she was 13 years old.

“I was never so high in my life,” recalled Owl, now 58. “I inhaled, got dizzy and then sick to my stomach.”

A tribal citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Owl lit up the day she arrived at a boarding school in rural Oklahoma.

Away from home for the first time, the lonely teen was susceptible to peer pressure.

“I was in the bathroom with some girls I’d just met. They asked me if I smoked and I said, ‘sure,’” Owl said. “I went back to my dorm and.... Read More

             

Health Needs of Older Rural Immigrants Often Overlooked

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

Micaela Rios, 64, who immigrated to rural western Kansas from Mexico 20 years ago, has a difficult job in a meatpacking plant. After years of packing beef in cold, wet conditions, she developed arthritis and high blood pressure. When she was 60, she had a heart attack.

Many immigrants and refugees work alongside her, some of them older than she, Rios said. Despite the arduous work, she feels lucky that the job comes with health insurance. She hopes to retire once Medicare kicks in.

“One reason she hasn’t retired is because of her health insurance,” said her daughter, Karla Davila, who acted as her mother’s interpreter for this interview..... 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

             

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

             

How to Fix Racial Inequities in the Workplace

by Richard Eisenberg. This post originally appeared on Next Avenue.

As Next Avenue has noted, there are huge wealth and income disparities between blacks and whites in America (average wealth of white families was more than $500,000 higher than African Americans in 2013 and whites in 2015 earned $25.22 an hour, on average, compared with $18.49 for blacks). But what accounts for the huge labor market disparities between blacks and whites, such as an unemployment rate that’s been roughly twice as high for blacks than whites since the 1970s? And what can be done to lessen these disparities?

In its Race,.... Read More

             

A Nursing Home for American Indian Elders Fills Cultural Needs

by Kevyn Burger. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.

Born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, Kathy Janis was taught to revere the elders in her Oglala Sioux Tribe.

“I was raised to consider every one of them to be a relative. Respect is instilled in us,” she said. “My parents didn’t tell it, they lived it and showed us.”

That’s why Janis prioritized the needs of her older relatives while serving on the Tribal Council. More than a decade ago, the governing body began laying the groundwork to build a nursing home specifically for the tribe’s members. An early step was visiting tribal elders who were scattered in facilities around the country.... Read More

             

Your Digital Mission: How Social Technology Can Advance Your Organization

by Bryce Kirchoff, Director of Audience Development for Next Avenue. Next Avenue is public media’s first and only national journalism service for America’s booming older population. Bryce will be presenting on a panel alongside Jenna McDavid of the Diverse Elders Coalition at this year’s Aging in America conference. For more information on the conference, click here

More than 40 million people have visited nextavenue.org since we launched five years ago. While many aspects of life have changed since then, the mission of Next Avenue remains the same: We unleash the potential of older Americans through digital media. Central to Next Avenue’s service — and success — is a recognition of the diverse needs,.... Read More

             
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