Ensuring that all diverse elders receive quality care as they age
The Diverse Elders Coalition is working to increase support for family caregivers, who are providing unpaid labor to ensure that their family members, friends, and neighbors can age with health and dignity. We’re also closing the competency gaps that prevent paid caregivers from providing the best care to elders from diverse backgrounds.
Caregiving is one of the most overlooked challenges facing this country. It affects millions of families every day, in all walks of life. In 2014, an estimated 34.2 million individuals in the United States provided unpaid care to someone age 50 years or older who needed help due to limitations in physical, mental, or cognitive functioning. Nearly half (47%) care for someone age 75 or older. The large majority (85%) of caregivers are relatives, but the term “family caregiver” also includes partners, close friends, and neighbors. In 2013, the estimated value of the unpaid care provided by all caregivers was $470 billion.
By 2030, 72.8 million people — more than one in five people in the United States — will be age 65 or older. The greatest growth will be in the number of the “oldest old” – persons ages 80 and older – who have the greatest need for help due to notably higher rates of physical, cognitive, and other functional limitations.
The number of older Americans will not only double from 2010 to 2050, but the older population will also be more diverse. By 2030, nearly 3 in 10 older Americans will identify as a person of color and/or an American Indian/Alaska Native. At the same time, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older population will double in size to at least 4 million persons. The growing diversity of older Americans will further increase the demand for caregivers.
The Diverse Elders Coalition is working to address these growing yet unmet elder caregiving needs in diverse communities by educating and training professionals, providing information and resources to elder caregivers and caregiver recipients, and advocating for needed changes in policies and programs. In 2018, the coalition received a $549,679 grant from The John A. Hartford Foundation to support family caregivers in our communities. This groundbreaking initative will analyze existing research, generate original research, and develop policy and programmatic solutions that meet the needs of diverse family caregivers. Learn more here.
Read on to learn what each of our coalition members is doing to improve caregiving for diverse elders.
The National Asian Pacific Center on aging (NAPCA) runs the National Resource Center on AAPI Aging, which provides technical assistance to aging professionals and has a primary goal of helping AAPI family caregivers gain access to the long-term services and supports they need to care for their loved ones. NAPCA also operates a National Multilingual Helpline, which allows caregivers to get answers to legal, financial, and healthcare questions in their native language.
The National Caucus and Center on Black Aging (NCBA) provides quality, affordable housing to more than 500 older adults in six locations and runs a robust Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) for older adults in ten different states. Through this network, NCBA regularly disseminates resources and referrals related to caregiving, including through NCBA’s bi-monthly newsletter and at community events where caregiving support services are highlighted. They work to ensure that legislators, policymakers, philanthropists, advocacy groups, service organizations, thought leaders and the public at-large include Black and African American seniors and caregivers in their programs, policy- and law-making, and giving.
The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) has been focusing on the unique needs of Hispanic family caregivers in recent years, including a series of Thought Leaders Roundtables on Family Caregiving and subsequent town hall discussions and local convenings for Hispanic family caregivers in Silver Spring, MD; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; and Dallas, TX. NHCOA has also conducted a national survey of Hispanic family caregivers to identify urgent needs and begin to craft solutions.
The National Indian Council On Aging (NICOA) leads the Savvy Caregivers Training Program, which is designed for trainers who work with American Indian and Alaskan Native caregivers who care for an elder with dementia. You can find the trainers’ manual on the NICOA website and sign up for online and in-person trainings. NICOA also operates an online forum for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.
SAGE has produced a number of caregiving resources for and about LGBT older adults and their families, including an LGBT person’s guide to preparing for medical procedures, resources for those providing services and programming to LGBT caregivers, and a planning guide for caregivers in the LGBT Community. You can find these resources in our library and on the webpage of the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging.
The Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) works to keep policymakers accountable to immigrant communities, including Southeast Asian American older adults who came here as refugees during the 1970s. One of SEARAC’s primary goals is to connect Southeast Asian American older adults and caregivers with resources that help overcome lingustic and cultural competency barriers to care.
For more on what our Coalition is doing to support caregivers and those they care for, check out our blog. You’ll also find reports, fact sheets, and other research around caregiving issues in our library.
As we look to the future of our aging, diversifying nation and consider the many ways that each of us will need care in the coming years, the Diverse Elders Coalition is committed to improving equity in caregiving and providing the supports necessary to allow diverse older adults to age with health and dignity. If you have questions about caregiving or need resources to support you as you age, contact us here.