ASA Generations - Generations: The Latest Age-Related News, Articles and Opinions http://generations.asaging.org/ en Housing: Often Overlooked but a Critical Pillar for Older Adults http://generations.asaging.org/housing-older-adults-health-inequities-policy <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Housing: Often Overlooked but a Critical Pillar for Older Adults</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6" class="username">asa_admin</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Sat, 07/18/2020 - 01:19</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/ageism-culture" hreflang="en">Ageism &amp; Culture</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/economic-security" hreflang="en">Economic Security</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-channel field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Channel</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/generations-journal" hreflang="en">Generations Journal</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-text field--type-string-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Text</div> <div class="field__item">Why is housing a backburner issue, how does it determine health, what are the inequities and how might we fix it?</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-paragraphs field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Paragraphs</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h6>Abstract</h6> <p>Housing is central to older adults’ life outcomes. Housing’s affordability, physical quality, and location can impact physical and mental health. Housing policies and practices have systematically limited access to homeownership for persons of color and segregated many into disadvantaged neighborhoods. For many, this has curtailed economic and wealth building opportunities over the life course and exposed them to negative health consequences of segregated neighborhoods. Encouraging and supporting equitable access to safe and quality housing options for older adults should be a role for all aging services stakeholders.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h6>Key Words</h6> <p>housing policy, social determinants of health, homeownership, equity, discrimination, COVID-19</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><hr /><p class="dropcaps">Housing policy tends to be overlooked when it comes to older adults. Attention is focused on programs and services that help older adults to stay in their homes—homemaker supports, personal care assistance, or meal deliveries—but housing fails to command the same consideration.</p> <p>Maybe this is because housing policy, in my opinion, has broadly been a backburner issue. Despite the housing affordability “crisis” that has been impacting broad swaths of American households for years, for example, housing is infrequently addressed in presidential or other election campaigns.</p> <p>Part of the challenge is that housing in America is viewed as a private market good, and framed as a way to build wealth. As such, housing policies, regulations, and practices are largely viewed through the lens of homeownership, increasing and protecting home values, and allowing market forces to dictate response. For example, the largest federal housing subsidy remains the mortgage interest deduction, even after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 lowered the cap on the size of the mortgage on which interest can be deducted (Thornton and Estep, 2019). In many cities, a large proportion of land is zoned exclusively for single-family homes (Manville, Monkkonen, and Lens, 2019).</p> <p>Recently, however, the aperture on housing has been expanding. As the social determinants of health gain attention and racial and ethnic inequities are spotlighted, we’re recognizing housing’s role in physical and mental health and life opportunities.</p> <h3>Social Determinants of Health</h3> <p>The social determinants of health are the social, economic, and physical conditions under which people are born, grow, live, work, and age. These conditions affect a person’s health risks and outcomes. Housing—including stability and affordability, physical structure, and location—is a key social determinant.</p> <p><strong>Affordability and stability: </strong>Individuals who are unstably housed, which may mean they are falling behind on rent, moving frequently, or staying with friends or relatives, are more likely to experience poor health than those who are stably housed. Research has found that people who are housing insecure are less likely to have a usual source of medical care, more likely to delay doctor’s visits and to use the emergency room for treatment, report poor or fair health, or report poor health that limits their daily activities (Stahre et al., 2015; Braveman et al., 2011).</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>‘Housing in America is viewed as a private market good, and framed as a way to build wealth.’</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Studies also have found housing instability is related to elevated stress levels, depression, and hopelessness (Center for Housing Policy and Enterprise, 2007). Unsurprisingly, high housing costs can force people to make tradeoffs with other essentials like food, healthcare and medications, and heating or cooling (Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University [JCHS], 2019).</p> <p><strong>Physical structure:</strong> Quality and safety deficits in one’s home can be detrimental to health. Water leaks, poor ventilation, dirty carpets, or bug infestations can produce mold, dust mites, or other allergens associated with poor health. Lack of heating or air-conditioning, leading to extreme high or low indoor temperatures, has been associated with increased mortality. Structural features such as steep stairs, holes in floors, or inaccessible bathrooms and kitchens can result in accidents and injuries (Braveman et al., 2011).</p> <p><strong>Location: </strong>The environment in which one’s home is located can also impact health and well-being. Older adults often spend decades in their communities and thus experience higher levels of exposure to neighborhood conditions. In addition, as older adults retire or become less mobile, they may spend more concentrated time in their neighborhood.</p> <p>Research shows that living in disadvantaged neighborhoods—characterized by high poverty—is associated with weak social ties, problems accessing healthcare and other services, reduced physical activity, health problems, mobility limitations, and high stress. The difference can be explained, in part, by the characteristics of people living in these neighborhoods, but also studies suggest that neighborhood characteristics may independently influence older residents’ health and well-being. Disadvantaged neighborhoods often have more crime, more pollution, poorer infrastructure, and fewer healthcare resources. Walkability; accessibility (including public transportation); safety; availability of public resources, like community centers, parks and libraries, and grocery stores with nutritious food; and healthy air all are related to health behaviors and outcomes (Mather and Scommegna, 2017, Bell et al., 2013, Braveman et al., 2011).</p> <h3>Housing Inequities</h3> <p>Today’s neighborhoods are shaped by mortgage lending practices started almost 100 years ago. In the 1930s, the Home Owners Loan Corporation graded neighborhoods according to lending risk, which was based largely on their minority makeup. Neighborhoods with racial and ethnic minorities were deemed “hazardous” and outlined in red on maps. The newly created Federal Housing Administration (FHA) would not insure loans in or near these neighborhoods, which effectively led to the entire mortgage industry refusing to make home loans to persons of color. As home ownership is a key source for building wealth in this country, this set the stage for the racial wealth gap that persists today.</p> <p>Additionally, the FHA also encouraged the use of race restrictive covenants by lowering the mortgage risk on individual properties with exclusionary deed language. It also often required that developers receiving construction loans place race restrictive covenants in their subdivisions’ property deeds (Rothstein, 2017). This denied African Americans the opportunity to participate in the postwar housing boom and to move to new suburbs, trapping them in inner cities that faced declining investment.</p> <p>Discriminatory lending practices were legal until 1968, when the Fair Housing Act was passed. Despite being outlawed, discriminatory and predatory lending practices and residential segregation continue today (Massey, 2015).</p> <p>It is important to understand the impact of these housing practices on many current and future older adults of color.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>‘In 2018, 82 percent of white adults ages 65 and older owned a home, compared to 62 percent of black older adults.’</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Black older adults have had less opportunity to purchase a home. In 2018, 82 percent of white adults ages 65 and older owned a home, compared to 62 percent of black older adults (JCHS, 2019). For those who were able to buy, many have been limited to neighborhoods with lower home value appreciation and-or may have only had access to unfavorable loan products and terms. In 2012, the median home value for black households ages 65 and older was $93,000, compared to $165,000 for older white households (Butrica and Mudrazija, 2016).</p> <p>These circumstances inhibited minority older adults’ opportunity to accumulate wealth over their lifetime. In 2013, the median net worth of African American older adult households ($56,700) was roughly one-fifth of the median net worth of white older adult households ($255,000) (Rosnick and Baker, 2014). While this difference cannot be attributed to home ownership alone, home equity is a primary way for American households to gain wealth</p> <p>Because the housing stock in redlined areas tends to be older, older adults’ homes in these neighborhoods may be in greater need of repair (Perry and Harshbarger, 2019). With lower home values or growth in home values, older adults of color may have less equity that could be tapped into to finance needed repairs or modifications to help maintain the safety and accessibility of their home. This could put them at risk for falls or other injuries. Also it could limit their ability to ambulate in and out of the home, leading to social isolation. Similarly, they have less equity to tap into to pay for services to help them age in place, if needed.</p> <p>Historically redlined neighborhoods have been and generally remain more segregated and more economically disadvantaged today than other neighborhoods (Perry and Harshbarger, 2019). These neighborhoods have faced a legacy of disinvestment, which has impacted economic opportunities, access to resources, and the physical environment.</p> <p>Evidence suggests segregation is a primary cause of racial difference in income by impacting access to education and employment opportunities (Williams and Collins, 2001). Lower incomes in addition to lower opportunity for home ownership has impacted the ability of older adults of color to build wealth to help support them in retirement.</p> <p>Disadvantaged and segregated neighborhoods have less access to options for buying affordable and healthy food and fewer healthcare resources (United States Department of Agriculture, 2009; Gaskin et al., 2012).</p> <p>Disadvantaged neighborhoods also often have higher crime, more environmental pollution, and poor infrastructure (sidewalks, street lighting, and traffic-calming measures). These elements can influence residents’ sense of safety and willingness or ability to engage in physical activity (Center on Social Disparities in Health, 2015).</p> <h3>The COVID-19 Effect, on Housing</h3> <p>Housing is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when considering the effects of COVID-19 on older adults. The economic impact of the pandemic, however, is potentially concerning, particularly for near retirees. Drawing on the 2008 Great Recession for comparison, experts predict the COVID-19 pandemic could diminish current and future retirement savings, as well as threaten public and private retirement systems (Johnson, 2020).</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p style="margin-bottom:14px">Older adults may be more inoculated from the economic impact of the pandemic than younger persons, as many are already retired and-or own their home outright. However, some near retirees may have lost their jobs, thus potentially impeding their ability to save for retirement. This could impact their future ability to sustain housing costs or inhibit future choices about housing, such as making repairs or modifications, or moving to an alternative housing type. For some lower-wage near retirees without a savings cushion, it could have a more immediate and lasting impact on their ability to afford housing costs.</p> <h3>Why Does This Matter for Aging Services Stakeholders</h3> <p>Housing is a broad and complex topic, and aging services stakeholders may not understand the connection to their role, or know how to engage. But the discussion above shows that an older adult’s housing situation plays a fundamental role in their ability to maintain health and quality of life. Aging services providers and policymakers should consider it a key platform supporting the implementation or success of their services and initiatives.</p> <p><strong>Affordability: </strong>Housing affordability is a fundamental problem in this country, including for older adults. Nearly 10 million older adult households, both owners and renters, are cost-burdened and pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing (JCHS, 2019). Excessive housing costs can lead to tradeoffs on other necessities like food or medications, living in unsafe conditions, or, at the extreme, homelessness.</p> <p><strong>Options: </strong>Zoning and other land-use regulations often create and protect single-family development, which can limit the range of housing types and impact affordability in neighborhoods. Rental housing or alternatives such as accessory dwelling units or cottage housing may be excluded. This limits opportunities for older adults to leverage their housing for income or care needs or to downsize or move to an alternative housing type to fit their changing needs and interests and remain in their neighborhood, where they have history and a social network.</p> <p><strong>Opportunity: </strong>Older Americans’ life course contributes to their health (Vega and Wallace, 2016). The ability of many older adults of color to purchase a home has been systematically limited, impeding a primary path for building economic opportunity and wealth; and many have been segregated into disadvantaged neighborhoods, limiting economic opportunity and exposing them to environments that increase risks for health problems.</p> <p>While many aging services stakeholders may not be engaged in housing delivery or policy, the success of their services and supports often is intertwined with the stability and quality of their client’s or constituent’s housing. Aging services providers and policymakers should look for opportunities to support or encourage initiatives that will provide older adults (particularly lower income elders and older adults of color) with adequate housing. This could include paying attention to and being an ally around funding for the creation and preservation of affordable housing stock and rental subsidies, mechanisms for financing home repairs and adaptations, reforms to local and state land-use regulations and building inclusionary zoning opportunities, granting approvals for construction of new affordable senior properties, promoting and enforcing equitable housing finance opportunities, and eliminating barriers to fair housing.</p> <p>Where we live has a profound impact our opportunities and outcomes in life. It’s important to recognize this for today’s older adults and to shape the prospects for future older adults.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><hr /><p><em>Alisha Sanders, M.P.Aff., is director of Housing and Services Policy Research at LeadingAge, in Washington, DC.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><hr /><h6>References</h6> <p>Bell, J., et al. 2013. “Access to Healthy Food and Why it Matters: A Review of the Research." Oakland, CA: PolicyLink. tinyurl.com/l8l4flw. Retrieved May 22, 2020.</p> <p>Braveman, P., et al. 2011. “How Does Housing Affect Health?” <i>Issue Brief #7</i>. Princeton, NJ: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. <a href="https://www.rwjf.org/en/search-results.html?at=Braveman+P">tinyurl.com/y82zk7oh</a>. Retrieved May 22, 2020.</p> <p>Butrica, B. and Mudrazija, S. 2016. “Home Equity Patterns Among Older American Households.” <a href="tinyurl.com/y9n6zfpw">tinyurl.com/y9n6zfpw</a>. Retrieved June 11, 2020.</p> <p>Center for Housing Policy and Enterprise. 2007. “The Positive Impact of Affordable Housing on Health: A Research Study.” <a href="tinyurl.com/y8oonp4k">tinyurl.com/y8oonp4k</a>. Retrieved May 22, 2020.</p> <p>Center on Social Disparities in Health. 2015. “How Do Neighborhood Conditions Shape Health?” <a href="tinyurl.com/y7bxt6ya">tinyurl.com/y7bxt6ya</a>. Retrieved May 29, 2020.</p> <p>Gaskin, D., Dinwiddie, G., Chan, K. and McCleary, R. 2012. “Residential Segregation and the Availability of Primary Care Physicians.” <em>Health Services Research</em> 47(6): 2353-2376. <a href="tinyurl.com/y8s3yzw6">tinyurl.com/y8s3yzw6</a>. Retrieved June 11, 2020.</p> <p>Johnson, R. 2020. “Seven Ways the COVID-19 Pandemic Could Undermine Retirement Security.” <em>Urban Wire.</em> <a href="tinyurl.com/ybloxa5p">tinyurl.com/ybloxa5p</a>. Retrieved May 29, 2020.</p> <p>Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. 2019. <em>Housing America’s Older Adults 2019</em>. Boston, MA: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.</p> <p>Manville, M., Monkkonen, P., and Lens, M. 2019. “It’s Time to End Single-Family Zoning.” <em>Journal of the American Planning Association</em> 86(1): 106–12. <a href=" tinyurl.com/y9m989zl">tinyurl.com/y9m989zl</a>. Retrieved June 2, 2020.</p> <p>Massey, D. 2015. “The Legacy of the 1968 Fair Housing Act.” <em>Sociological Forum </em>30(1): 571–88.</p> <p>Mather, M., and Scommegna, P. 2017. “How Neighborhoods Affect the Health and Well-Being of Older Americans.” <em>Today’s Research on Aging</em>. Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau. <a href="tinyurl.com/y94ztxr9">tinyurl.com/y94ztxr9</a>. Retrieved May 22, 2020.</p> <p>Perry, A. and Harshbarger, G. 2019. “America’s Formerly Redlined Neighborhoods have Changed and so Must Solutions to Rectify Them.” <a href="tinyurl.com/yczg24ko">tinyurl.com/yczg24ko</a>. Retrieved May 22, 2020.</p> <p>Rosnick, D., and Baker, D. 2014. “The Wealth of Households: An Analysis of the 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances.” Center for Economic and Policy Research. <a href="tinyurl.com/ybzk5h7z">tinyurl.com/ybzk5h7z</a>. Retrieved May 29, 2020.</p> <p>Rothstein, R. 2017. <em>The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.</em> New York: Liveright.</p> <p>Stahre, M., et al. 2015. “Housing Insecurity and the Association with Health Outcomes and Unhealthy Behaviors, Washington State, 2011.”<em> Preventing Chronic Disease</em> 12: 140511. <a href="tinyurl.com/ydy7m3e4">tinyurl.com/ydy7m3e4</a>. Retrieved May 22, 2020.</p> <p>Thornton, A., and Estep, S. 2019. “Take Stock of Spending Through Tax Code.” <a href="tinyurl.com/y9r9fvne">tinyurl.com/y9r9fvne</a>. Retrieved June 2, 2020.</p> <p>United States Department of Agriculture. 2009. “Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food: Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences.” Report to Congress. <a href="tinyurl.com/yx5hwfxo">tinyurl.com/yx5hwfxo</a>. Retrieved May 29, 2020.</p> <p>Vega, W., and Wallace, S. April 2016. “Affordable Housing: A Key Lever to Community Health for Older Americans.” American Journal of Public Health, 106(4): 635–6. <a href="tinyurl.com/yc4anlh9">tinyurl.com/yc4anlh9</a>. Retrieved June 3, 2020.</p> <p>Williams, D., and Collins, C. 2001. “Racial Residential Segregation: A Fundamental Cause of Racial Disparities in Health.” Public Health Reports, Volume 116. <a href="tinyurl.com/y7sm7lml">tinyurl.com/y7sm7lml</a>. Retrieved June 2, 2020.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Media</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/13" hreflang="en">Housing</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-byline field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Byline</div> <div class="field__item"><p>By Alisha Sanders</p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Issue</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/summer-2020" hreflang="en">Summer 2020</a></div> </div> Fri, 17 Jul 2020 23:19:02 +0000 asa_admin 43 at http://generations.asaging.org Averting a Housing Crisis and Shining a Light on Inequities in Elder Housing http://generations.asaging.org/housing-crisis-older-adults-alisha-sanders <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Averting a Housing Crisis and Shining a Light on Inequities in Elder Housing</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6" class="username">asa_admin</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 07/07/2020 - 23:12</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/economic-security" hreflang="en">Economic Security</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/innovation-social-impact" hreflang="en">Innovation &amp; Social Impact</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/justice-equity" hreflang="en">Justice &amp; Equity</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-channel field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Channel</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/generations-journal" hreflang="en">Generations Journal</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-text field--type-string-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Text</div> <div class="field__item">‘I wanted to recognize the key role of the “shelters” in which most older adults live.’</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-paragraphs field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Paragraphs</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><figure role="group" class="caption caption-img align-right"><img alt="Alisha Sanders headshot" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="ea630ef1-65f7-4b82-8ad0-d5ccb53e452c" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Sanders-Alisha.png" style="margin:8px" /><figcaption>Summer Generations Guest Editor Alisha Sanders</figcaption></figure><p class="dropcaps">When asked about her motivation for guest-editing this Summer issue of Generations, Guest Editor Alisha Sanders said, “I wanted to help bridge two worlds­­–to help aging services people understand more about housing and to help housing people understand more about older adults.”</p> <p>Sanders directs housing and services policy research at LeadingAge, in Washington, DC, and is thrilled that Generations chose to devote an edition of the journal to housing.</p> <p>“Housing doesn’t often get emphasized in the aging services world,” said Sanders. “My intent with this collection of articles was to keep the focus on ‘housing’ and not slide into residential care settings. That’s not to say those settings aren’t crucial, and of course there are important policy and practice issues to address in that realm. But I wanted to recognize the key role of the ‘shelters’ in which most older adults live, to help people to fully understand the housing situations of older adults, where gaps exist and which issues need addressing,” she added.</p> <p>At LeadingAge, Sanders studies programs and models that link affordable senior housing communities with health and supportive services. With colleagues and partner organizations, they’ve built a new knowledge and evidence base on the implementation and outcomes of these initiatives to help foster their spread.</p> <p>“I’ve always been passionate about housing policy, and sort of ‘fell into’ the older adult aspect,” Sanders said. She stayed in the older adult arena, however, because she’s intrigued by the way housing intersects with other aspects of older adults’ lives, and how central the combination can be to quality of life, especially for low-income older adults.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>‘I wanted to recognize the key role of the “shelters” in which most older adults live.’</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Sanders also feels it is critical to recognize older adults in housing discussions, as currently they are often left out. A perception remains that older adults tend to live in stable situations in housing they own. But older adults face significant gaps in access to quality, affordable housing, and many live in precarious situations. And there are a burgeoning number of older adults with no housing at all. Plus, as the work LeadingAge and others have done has shown, housing can play a key role in addressing social and health needs as well.</p> <p>“I hope these articles will help to reveal the significant implications housing policy has on other aspects of life, particularly for persons of color. Current U.S. housing policy is strongly intertwined with economic opportunity and security, which is clearly shown in the disparities in homeownership rates, home values, and wealth between white older adults and black older adults,” said Sanders.</p> <p>She points to a r<a href="https://www.redfin.com/blog/redlining-real-estate-racial-wealth-gap/">ecent study</a> showing that homeowners in previously redlined neighborhoods—in which, until 1968, federal government policy effectively denied mortgage loans to people of color—have gained 52 percent less in home equity over the past 40 years than homeowners in previously greenlined areas.</p> <p>“Home equity is a key component of wealth in this country,” said Sanders. “And this study found that black homeowners today are about five times more likely to own a home in a formerly redlined area than a greenlined neighborhood. So many black homeowners are not able to realize the same potential wealth-building benefit as white homeowners because they have been tracked into segregated neighborhoods that have faced decades of underinvestment.</p> <p>Many older adults will be unable to afford the care they will need as they age in the years to come, and housing is at least one contributor to this lack of funds. Many elders of color would have been denied the opportunity to purchase a home or would have been limited to neighborhoods that experienced and continued to experience years of disinvestment, thus earning far less in home equity. To the extent that an older adult may tap into home equity or sell a home to help support care needs, this source of funds is limited for those whose housing equity opportunities have been curtailed. </p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Black homeowners are about five times more likely to own a home in a formerly redlined area.</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Of course, for many older adults who were lower-wage workers over their lifetime, buying a home was never an option. Many of these older adults tend to rely largely on Social Security for their retirement income. According to the <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/factsheets/basicfact-alt.pdf">Social Security Administration</a>, Social Security makes up 90 percent or more of the income for 45 percent of unmarried older adults. In May 2020, the <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/quickfacts/stat_snapshot/">average monthly benefit for retired workers was $1,512</a>. Given high rent costs across the country, it is clear that many lower-income renters will struggle to find affordable options. </p> <p>Sanders encourages ASA members to become allies to housing advocates and help push for expansions in rental subsidies, learn more about local or state housing advocacy organizations to build collaborations, and get out and help advocate for better housing policies, building and land use regulations, and funding initiatives.   “An older adults’ housing situation can have implications on their health, functionality, and quality of life--all of which many ASA members are addressing,” said Sanders. The success and optimization of the services they are providing can be intertwined with the safety and quality, accessibility, and affordability of their constituents’ housing. Sanders hope this collection of articles will help build ASA members’ understanding of housing issues and the connection they can have to their work.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Media</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/23" hreflang="en">Line of Classic Rusty Blue Rural US Mailboxes</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-byline field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Byline</div> <div class="field__item"><p>By Alison Biggar</p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Issue</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/summer-2020" hreflang="en">Summer 2020</a></div> </div> Tue, 07 Jul 2020 21:12:35 +0000 asa_admin 8 at http://generations.asaging.org Overcoming the 'silver tsunami' http://generations.asaging.org/silver-tsunami-older-adults-demographics-aging <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Overcoming the &#039;silver tsunami&#039;</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6" class="username">asa_admin</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 07/07/2020 - 07:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/ageism-culture" hreflang="en">Ageism &amp; Culture</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/innovation-social-impact" hreflang="en">Innovation &amp; Social Impact</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-channel field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Channel</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/generations-today" hreflang="en">Generations Today</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-text field--type-string-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Text</div> <div class="field__item">Aging is a first-person experience.</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-paragraphs field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Paragraphs</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p class="dropcaps">The phrase “silver tsunami” drives me nuts. It is a common expression used to describe the unprecedented increase in the number of older people in the world, and it is used even in the aging services sector. People employ this doomsday term as a way of demonstrating they are “in the know” about the demographics of aging.</p> <p>Fact check: a tsunami is a large wave that results in vast destruction and mass casualties. A natural disaster of catastrophic proportions, it is planned for, mitigated against and feared.</p> <p>Unfortunately, this phrase is fun to pronounce. Silver tsunami became embedded in our collective psyche because of its alliteration. And, to some, the phrase sounds clever.</p> <p>Using silver tsunami to describe population aging was intentional as a shorthand description of the burden that will befall the country when millions of people grow old, get sick and need care. It is an economic term, based in calculations of increasing cost. On the nation’s balance sheet, the great silver tsunami rests squarely in the liability column. This drain on financing is coming. Be aware. Be warned. Plan ahead.</p> <h2>Re-Evaluating Impacts of Longevity and the Meaning of Aging</h2> <p>I am all for planning ahead. Increasing numbers of older people will strain our healthcare resources, place increased burden on caregivers and accelerate a workforce shortage. I do not take issue with cost concerns. My protest lies elsewhere.</p> <p>The term silver tsunami fails to account for the asset of increasing numbers of older people, many of whom are reaping the benefits of better health and increased longevity. Its economic assumption presupposes a future of healthcare delivery that resembles the past. We are re-valuing how, and what, we pay for in healthcare and where we should invest in prevention. Even the delivery of long-term care will evolve in the future.</p> <p>Also this phrase does not convey what it means to get old and be old. The swell of people in the wave are individuals, with lives of purpose, meaning, and, yes, difficulty. Aging is a first-person experience.</p> <p>But our culture remains awash with negative images and stereotypes of older people. Ageism is used to diminish and devalue people and is a convenient way to divide adults into two categories: us and them. Ageism distracts from the fundamental truth that advanced age is a period of human development.</p> <p>The FrameWorks Institute is the research partner for the <a href="https://frameworksinstitute.org/reframing-aging.html">Reframing Aging Project</a>, an initiative sponsored by eight leading organizations in the field of aging. FrameWorks has developed strategies for changing the way we think and speak about aging. Consider this question, “What do older people need?” The answer to this question brings to mind an abstract group of old people who will need transportation, housing, care and so forth.</p> <p>As an exercise, now ask the same thing differently, “What will I need when I get old?” The issues of aging are not about other people. The issues of aging are about everyone. Older people are individual glimpses of our future selves, given time.</p> <h2>People Live Longer but Better Lives</h2> <p>In 2017, a person reaching age 65 had an average life expectancy of 19 additional years. A child born in 2017 could expect to live more than 30 years longer than a child born in 1900. In the span of a life, where were those extra years added? Although the average life expectancy has increased, additional years weren’t tacked on at the end. Americans are enjoying more and better years before the declining years of advanced age.</p> <p>In 2009, Harvard Professor Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot wrote a book called “<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Third-Chapter-Passion-Adventure-Years/dp/0374532214">The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50</a>.” Professor Lawrence-Lightfoot’s research has led her to conclude that this third chapter is a stage of life when “many women and men are embracing new challenges and searching for greater meaning in life.”</p> <p>Marc Freedman, CEO and founder of <a href="https://encore.org/">Encore.org</a>, explores meaning and purpose in people older than age 50. Freedman is the creative force behind <a href="https://purposeprize.encore.org/">The Purpose Prize</a>, an award given to “demonstrate that older people comprise an undiscovered, and still largely untapped, continent of solutions to an array of pressing societal challenges.” His organization works to innovate “new ideas and models to leverage the skills and talents of experienced adults to improve communities and the world.”</p> <p>These are the assets I’m talking about. Experienced adults can improve the world. They are cherished members of their families and communities. Older people in the third chapter of life are finding additional purpose and exploring creativity. A true accounting of a future full of 95 million older people must be balanced, with an eye toward planning for both the burden of care and the benefit of contribution.</p> <p>Personally, I prefer the term “age wave.” You can ride a wave, but it can capsize you. We must prepare for both. It is essential that we understand the impact on the U.S. economy when, in 2060, nearly 25 percent of the population will be older than age 65. Who will provide care when those individuals reach advanced age? How will it be paid for?</p> <p>These challenging questions have already arrived with the front edge of this surge. In an August 2019 <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/this-will-be-catastrophic-maine-families-face-elder-boom-worker-shortage-in-preview-of-nations-future/2019/08/14/7cecafc6-bec1-11e9-b873-63ace636af08_story.html?arc404=true">article</a>, The Washington Post explored in detail the elder boom and worker shortage currently facing the state of Maine. The article predicts the issues confronting Maine are a preview of the nation’s future.</p> <p>As we prepare for this wave, we also must plan to surf it. Millions of us will have time and experience to share. We need to be healthy enough to do so, mentally and physically. It is essential we devote additional time and more resources to healthy aging, as individuals who are growing older and as a nation concerned about health.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><hr /><p><em>Kathy Greenlee, J.D., previously served as U.S. Assistant Secretary for Aging and Kansas Secretary for Aging. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Council on Aging, and member of the Generations Editorial Advisory Board.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Media</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/7" hreflang="en">Tsunami</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-byline field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Byline</div> <div class="field__item"><p><strong>Op-Ed</strong><br /> By Kathy Greenlee</p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Issue</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/july-aug-2020" hreflang="en">July-Aug 2020</a></div> </div> Tue, 07 Jul 2020 05:00:00 +0000 asa_admin 10 at http://generations.asaging.org Equity in Aging for LGBT Older Adults: A Review of the Past Ten Years and Progress for the Future http://generations.asaging.org/equity-aging-lgbt-older-adults <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Equity in Aging for LGBT Older Adults: A Review of the Past Ten Years and Progress for the Future</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6" class="username">asa_admin</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 05/18/2021 - 08:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/justice-equity" hreflang="en">Justice &amp; Equity</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/economic-security" hreflang="en">Economic Security</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/health-well-being" hreflang="en">Health &amp; Well-being</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-channel field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Channel</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/generations-today" hreflang="en">Generations Today</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-text field--type-string-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Text</div> <div class="field__item">‘The effects of discrimination and poverty among LGBT individuals compound over the lifetime.’</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-paragraphs field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Paragraphs</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p class="dropcaps">Ten years ago, <a href="https://justiceinaging.org/">Justice in Aging</a> and <a href="https://www.sageusa.org/">SAGE </a>wrote a report, <a href="http://www.justiceinaging.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Stories-from-the-Field.pdf">"Stories from the Field,"</a> on discrimination LGBT older adults experience in nursing homes. We heard reports of staff at these facilities refusing to help gay men bathe or to use transgender residents’ correct pronouns. This was in addition to discriminatory policies that made it difficult or even impossible for transgender people to get Medicare coverage for prostate and pelvic exams and bans on gay men of any age donating blood. LGBT older adults living in the community have faced other barriers such as discriminatory housing policies.</p> <p>While new legal protections have been enacted since we published our report, unfortunately many LGBT older adults are still discriminated against and many more continue to live in fear that they will be.  As we documented in our <a href="https://justiceinaging.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/How-Can-Legal-Services-Better-Meet-the-Needs-of-Low-Income-LGBT-Seniors.pdf">special report</a> on the legal needs of low-income LGBT older adults, the effects of discrimination and poverty among LGBT individuals compound over the lifetime, such that many experience increased levels of poverty and other barriers as they age.  </p> <p>This is especially true for LGBT older adults of color and individuals with limited income and wealth, including <a href="https://medium.com/berkeley-interdisciplinary-migration-initiative/lgbtq-immigrant-seniors-in-californias-central-valley-a-story-of-inequality-and-vulnerability-be7eaf0e02c1">immigrants </a>who, depending upon their immigration status and length or residency, <a href="https://ncler.acl.gov/getattachment/Legal-Training/Benefits-for-Immigrants-Ch-Summary-(1).pdf.aspx?lang=en-US">may be barred</a> from Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and nutrition and housing assistance. These immigrants can end up with little or no choice in providers of health, long-term care and social services.</p> <h2>Foundation for Equal Rights for LGBT Older Adults</h2> <p>In the past ten years, we have seen a foundation being built for equal rights and nondiscrimination for LGBT older adults, and it is worth celebrating. The courts have decided cases establishing landmark anti-discrimination protections and expanding rights for LGBT individuals, including older adults.</p> <p>The U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions striking down federal and state bans on same-sex marriages in <em>U.S. v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges</em> allowed Social Security <a href="https://justiceinaging.org/new-fact-sheet-new-guidance-spousal-survival-benefits-married-lgbt-individuals/">spousal and survivor’s benefits</a> to go to LGBT couples and their families and opened the door for Justice in Aging and others to fight against the Social Security Administration’s <a href="http://justiceinaging.org/our-work/litigation/held-v-colvin-litigation/">other discriminatory policies</a>. These decisions <a href="https://justiceinaging.org/lawsuit-paves-way-improvements-ssi-overpayment-collection/">continue to help</a> LGBT older adults get relief from benefits miscalculations that occurred even before the cases were decided.  </p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>‘The 2016 Health Care Rights Law regulations also recognized intersectional discrimination.’</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Most recently, in <em>Bostock v. Clayton County</em>, the Supreme Court decided that the prohibition of discrimination in employment “on the basis of sex” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also prohibits discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.</p> <p>The Affordable Care Act included the Health Care Rights Law (Section 1557). It is the only federal law that bans discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age and disability specifically in health programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance, and it is the first federal law to prohibit sex discrimination in healthcare.</p> <p>The implementing regulations, finalized in 2016, interpreted Section 1557’s ban on sex discrimination to include prohibitions on discrimination on the basis of sex stereotyping and gender identity. The<a href="https://justiceinaging.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Changes-to-the-Rules-Implementing-the-HCRL.pdf"> 2016 Health Care Rights Law </a>regulations also recognized intersectional discrimination, providing a new avenue to challenge discrimination under Section 1557 for LGBT older adults who experience discrimination in federal health programs and activities on the basis of multiple identities, such as gender identity, age and race.</p> <h2>The Push Back Against Progress</h2> <p>Unfortunately, the past ten years have also been met with persistent attempts to attack the rights of the LGBT community. In 2020, the Trump Administration eliminated these explicit protections for LGBT individuals in the Health Care Rights Law regulations. These rollbacks, along with removal of protections for limited English proficient older adults, undermine LGBT older adults’ rights and make it harder to seek redress from healthcare discrimination in court.</p> <p>Other regulatory actions, such as expanding grounds for health and social services providers to deny services to LGBT individuals and proposals to permit homeless shelters to discriminate against transgender individuals when assigning housing, demonstrated the severe and ongoing hostility toward LGBT individuals.</p> <p>The attacks continued in court, as well. Last fall the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in <em>Fulton v. City of Philadelphia</em>, a case challenging Philadelphia’s decision to end its contract with a social services agency that refused to certify same-sex couples as foster parents. And the effects of intersectional discrimination against LGBT individuals play out in the COVID-19 pandemic, too, with LGBT people of color twice as likely as white non-LGBT people to report testing positive for COVID-19.</p> <p>That is why Justice in Aging has joined other advocacy partners in actions to undo these harmful changes and repair the damaging effects of this discrimination. We are <a href="https://justiceinaging.org/chinatown-service-center-saint-barnabas-senior-services-v-united-states-department-of-health-and-human-services-litigation/">challenging the rollbacks to the Health Care Rights Law</a> in court and joined a brief with many other aging advocacy organizations in Fulton.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Legal prohibitions on discrimination can be advanced quickly through laws and policies—but, it takes those policies being implemented and litigated to make protections real.</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>President Biden signed an <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/26/memorandum-on-redressing-our-nations-and-the-federal-governments-history-of-discriminatory-housing-practices-and-policies/">executive order</a> extending housing anti-discrimination protections to LGBT individuals, and recently withdrew the prior administration's proposal to permit discrimination against transgender individuals in housing programs and homeless shelters. The Biden administration also announced that it will interpret and enforce Section 1557 prohibitions on discrimination in healthcare based on sex to include sexual orientation and gender identity, consistent with the Supreme Court's ruling in Bostock.</p> <p>Congress has taken up the Equality Act, which builds on <em>Bostock </em>to codify that the prohibition on sex discrimination in major civil rights laws includes sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill, which has passed the House, would directly impact LGBT older adults by expanding the definition of sex discrimination in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and other laws.</p> <p>The Equality Act would also expand the definition of “public accommodations” to include healthcare and legal services providers, banks, transportation, food banks and online retailers and service providers, among other businesses and locations. This expanded definition would increase anti-discrimination protections for LGBT older adults, not only on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, but also race, national origin, including limited English proficiency, and other protected classes.</p> <p>If it becomes law, the Equality Act will strengthen LGBT older adults’ rights to access healthcare, housing, long-term services and supports and other aging services without discrimination. Ongoing discrimination also is why Justice in Aging has been championing <a href="https://justiceinaging.org/equitable-vaccine-distribution-for-older-adults-requires-a-tailored-approach-and-key-principles/">principles </a>for equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution to ensure that older adults who are most at-risk do not encounter barriers to getting the vaccine.</p> <p>As the past 10 years have shown us, legal prohibitions on discrimination can be advanced rather quickly through laws and policies—and this is certainly important. However, it often takes those policies being implemented and litigated to make the protections real. We are encouraged by the Biden administration and Congress taking steps to put more anti-discrimination and equity-centered policies on the books.</p> <p>Justice in Aging will continue to fight for these types of protections and make sure that those that are passed are robustly implemented so that LGBT older adults, especially those who have been harmed the most by systemic discrimination, can age in dignity and justice.</p> <hr /><p><em>Denny Chan is directing attorney of Equity Advocacy in Justice in Aging’s (JIA) Los Angeles office and Natalie Kean is senior staff attorney in JIA’s Washington, DC office.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Media</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/341" hreflang="en">An older transgender woman holding a sign that reads &quot;Trans &amp; Proud&quot;</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-byline field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Byline</div> <div class="field__item"><p><strong>In Focus</strong><br /> By Denny Chan and Natalie Kean</p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Issue</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/may-june-2021" hreflang="en">May-June 2021</a></div> </div> Tue, 18 May 2021 06:00:04 +0000 asa_admin 378 at http://generations.asaging.org http://generations.asaging.org/equity-aging-lgbt-older-adults#comments Addressing Health Disparities through Innovations in Managed Care http://generations.asaging.org/addressing-health-disparities-through-managed-care <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Addressing Health Disparities through Innovations in Managed Care</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6" class="username">asa_admin</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 05/18/2021 - 07:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/health-well-being" hreflang="en">Health &amp; Well-being</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/innovation-social-impact" hreflang="en">Innovation &amp; Social Impact</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-channel field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Channel</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/generations-today" hreflang="en">Generations Today</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-text field--type-string-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Text</div> <div class="field__item">‘Moving into the post-pandemic world we will be looking at the lessons learned as a field.’</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-paragraphs field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Paragraphs</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em><strong>Editor’s note: </strong>The John A. Hartford Foundation, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) and The SCAN Foundation fund the <a href="https://www.aginganddisabilitybusinessinstitute.org/">Aging and Disability Business Institute</a>, led by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a). The mission of the Aging and Disability Business Institute is to build and strengthen partnerships between aging and disability community-based organizations (CBO) and the healthcare system. As partners in the Institute, ASA and n4a are collaborating on a series of articles and case studies in </em><strong>Generations Today</strong><em> that highlight community-based integrated care networks.</em></p> <hr /><p> </p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p class="dropcaps">Jointly sponsored by n4a's Aging and Disability Business Institute (Business Institute) and ASA, the <a href="https://asa.slayte.com/event/38888971-c089-4793-a89e-851310a9cbc2/schedule/c0e5de4e-86ed-41e0-acb7-77cdad849204?mustLogin=true ">Managed Care Summit: Unpacking Health Disparities</a>, happened April 9 at On Aging 2021, but can be viewed at any time for conference attendees who missed it the first time around. And it’s well worth it to hear of multiple successful innovations at work to address health disparities at the national, payer, and community organization levels.</p> <p>Marisa Scala-Foley, director of the Business Institute, kicked it off as moderator, describing ADBI’s mission to build the capacity of community-based organizations (CBOs) to contract with healthcare entities.</p> <p>“The twin pandemics of COVID and health inequity were at the forefront this year, and moving into the post-pandemic world we will be looking at the lessons learned as a field,” Scala-Foley said.</p> <p>Rani Snyder, vice president, program for The John A. Hartford Foundation, which funds the Business Institute, explained its pillars of building age-friendly health systems, supporting family caregivers, improving serious illness and end-of-life care. In the second phase of the Business Institute's work, Snyder said the results were better access to services, nutritious meals, personal care, transportation, caregivers, and allowing elders to remain in their homes and be independent. So far, more than 44 percent of CBOs have garnered contracts with healthcare entities.</p> <p>“The next round encompasses creating and integrating a seamless, age-friendly health system.” Hartford envisions this as an evidence-guided social movement to ensure all care for older adults is age-friendly. Age-friendly systems that use Hartford’s 4Ms framework (What Matters, Medication, Mentation, Mobility) are growing rapidly, with sites in each state. The 4Ms were in use this past January in 1,956 hospitals, and clinics, PACE sites and nursing homes. Already by April there were more than 2,000 care sites, Snyder said.</p> <p>Tricia McGinnis, executive vice president and chief program officer at the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS), addressed fixing disparities and advancing equity via value-based payment in managed care. One illustrative example of how this might work was an attempt to improve post-partum care for people of color by paying physicians a small annual bonus for women who received a post-partum visit. Also, the plan or provider funded a social worker and bilingual case manager to support the patient, and gave patients small financial incentives in the form of metro or gift cards for attending a post-partum visit.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>‘So why would a healthcare system think about addressing the social determinants? For us we think it’s the right thing to do.’</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>McGinnis also mentioned bringing in a CBO experienced with homelessness to help CHCS assess homeless families to figure out barriers to care, and the group is now in the process of developing a wraparound model to  help homeless families overcome those barriers.</p> <p>Deanne Minus-Vincent, senior vice president and chief Social Integration and Health Equity for RWJBarnabas Health, brought the discussion to the personal level by asking and answering why she does this work. Her answer? Because of people like those in her family who were active in the civil rights movement, and encountered personal health issues such as maternal mortality, plus her own path to health through weight loss.</p> <p>“So why would a healthcare system think about addressing the social determinants? For us we think it’s the right thing to do,” Minus-Vincent said.</p> <p>Not only does RWJBarnabas Health purchase, hire and invest locally, but the health system realized it needed to focus on housing, food, education and workforce development as well. Now it’s working patient by patient with a Health Beyond the Hospital program, which screens every patient for social determinants in a clinical setting.</p> <p>Also, within the Health Beyond the Hospital umbrella is a program called Ending Racism, led by Minus-Vincent. “Because of the social unrest, plus the pandemic, we needed to accelerate what we were doing,” she said.</p> <p>Stephanie Franklin, the Population Health Strategy Lead at Humana took over the Zoom screen next, detailing the work Humana is doing to help people realize their best health through addressing key disparities via new ways of understanding and meeting  social needs. Called the Bold Goal, it is Humana’s population health strategy to make it easier for everyone to achieve their best health through community, clinical and business integration. Humana is expanding this effort by launching “Louisville Community of Opportunity” in its headquarters city, collaborating with new and existing partners in Louisville’s West End to focus on health equity.</p> <h2>The CBO Perspective</h2> <p>Later in the program Arielle Basch, senior director of Health Services at JASA and Shireen McSpadden, executive director of San Francisco’s Department of Disability and Aging Services (DAS), spoke of successful innovations on the CBO side related to health equity.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>JASA has realized a 26 percent reduction in readmissions.</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>JASA’s Hospital to Home program sprung up out of a need to prevent older adults from being readmitted to the hospital by helping them to understand discharge instructions, which often are in a language foreign to them. Using International Medical Graduates (IMG) who are native speakers of the languages common to the part of New York City where JASA operates, they have realized a 26 percent reduction in readmissions.</p> <p>On the flip side, the IMGs gain priceless training in geriatrics, which hopefully they will use in the field once they move on to residencies. IMGs also pay home visits to clarify medication mix ups and ascertain other services that may be necessary to preserve the older adults’ health.</p> <p>McSpadden addressed her agency’s approach to using an equity lens in social services. For starters, they needed to name the importance of equity, she said, so DAS and its parent agency named equity as a core value and made a public statement about its principles to support and shape the work. They published a 90-item racial equity action plan, which is currently being implemented.</p> <p>“We delve through the data to understand how LGBTQ+ communities and communities of color are using various programs. … When we see gaps we engage with the community to find out what’s going on, which programs people don’t want, which they do know about and how to fix them. It’s been really informative,” McSpadden said.</p> <p>This spring DAS is conducting a series of BIPOC research projects to help them better understand the needs of BIPOC older adults.</p> <p>This Summit was chock full of useful ideas to take back to other agencies, and we highly recommend watching it.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Media</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/186" hreflang="en">Portrait of a older Black woman using face mask</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Issue</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/may-june-2021" hreflang="en">May-June 2021</a></div> </div> Tue, 18 May 2021 05:00:00 +0000 asa_admin 376 at http://generations.asaging.org Elder Justice Elusive, But Advocates Are Hard at Work Securing It http://generations.asaging.org/elder-justice-elusive-advocates-are-securing-it <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Elder Justice Elusive, But Advocates Are Hard at Work Securing It</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6" class="username">asa_admin</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 05/18/2021 - 07:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/justice-equity" hreflang="en">Justice &amp; Equity</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/ageism-culture" hreflang="en">Ageism &amp; Culture</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-channel field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Channel</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/generations-today" hreflang="en">Generations Today</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-text field--type-string-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Text</div> <div class="field__item">‘Access to justice for older adults is under threat.’</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-paragraphs field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Paragraphs</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p class="dropcaps">It has been almost a year since BLM protests rocked the country and drew much-needed attention to the severe lack of justice for people of color in the United States—an intractable problem for which the work is just beginning. The need for racial equity inspired one of ASA’s five pillars (Equity &amp; Justice) and was a running theme to our recent On Aging 2021 conference.</p> <p>For those who registered but missed the National Forum on Older Adults, COVID-19 and Access to Justice, we highly recommend watching it <a href="https://asa.slayte.com/event/38888971-c089-4793-a89e-851310a9cbc2/schedule/38c789bb-7a2a-4880-9db1-b6ccddba50ec?mustLogin=true">online</a>. Here’s a brief rundown of what you missed on April 9, but could now view in its entirety.</p> <p>Paul Greenwood, who spent 25 years prosecuting elder abuse cases in San Diego County, moderated the Forum, and first detailed the type of elder abuse he ran into, the complexity of the issue and how “access to justice for older adults is under threat; we are in for major challenges and elder financial abuse is a virtual pandemic that is on the rise.”</p> <p>Greenwood spoke of the need to break through the barrier of silence surrounding elder abuse and better train prosecutors and the police to ensure such abuse is never relegated to “civil matter” status. His message to those involved in this work is to “prosecute with purpose, passion and perseverance.”</p> <p>Panelist and Director of the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging Charles Sabatino gave an overview of the concept of access to justice, saying that if an older adult has no knowledge of their rights, they can’t possibly have access to justice. “Are the courts and court proceedings accessible to older and disabled people? Are the environments threatening or safe?” All such matters play into the ability of older adults to gain justice.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>‘Older adults’ civil rights are very much alive as an issue, including with the recently debated Equality Act.’</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Justice in Aging’s (JIA) Directing Attorney for Equity Advocacy Denny Chan did a quick rundown of civil rights, bringing up Derek Chauvin, voting restrictions and anti-Asian violence. “Conversations about access to justice cannot be divorced from the lived experience of older adults,” said Chan. “We knew that in 2019, but what 2020 has done is to reconfirm those instincts—poverty is racialized, and we must acknowledge systemic racism and discrimination.”</p> <p>Chan explained progress made on the civil rights front with the Civil Rights Act, Fair Housing Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 1557 of the ACA, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age and disability in health programs receiving federal financial assistance. Chan admitted, though, that despite such protections, older adults are commonly discriminated against in employment, on the basis of other identities they hold and in crisis standards of care hospitals sometimes use to triage COVID patients.</p> <p>But the future holds promise, as Chan says older adults’ civil rights are very much alive as an issue, including with the recently debated Equality Act, as well as renewed attention to systemic inequities.</p> <h2>Where Racial and Elder Justice Intersect</h2> <p>His colleague Vivianne Mbaku, a staff attorney at JIA, addressed the intersection of elder and racial justice, eloquently describing her personal journey exploring a role in the racial justice movement and how to find her place, one that would consider the role of elder justice in the racial justice movement. “When you think of an older adult, who do you see?” she asked. “Do you see a white man or woman with grey hair? I see my late grandfather, who was a vet, a black man, and worked for the United States Postal Service all of his career.”</p> <p>Black, Latino and LGBTQ elders are less likely to seek out support from social services agencies and the police as they fear repeating racialized encounters they’ve had in the past, she said. Mbaku also spoke of the tricky issues of reporting potential elder abuse in families and a fear of involving the police or losing the support that exists within that same family.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>‘Do we want to punish those who commit elder abuse? Yes in theory, but that’s not always what happens.’</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>The solution, Mbaku felt, lies in restorative justice. “Do we want to punish those who commit elder abuse? Yes in theory, but that’s not always what happens. The most common perpetrators are family members, who are also the source of housing and income. Once you layer the complexities of race and implicit bias you can see where the problems arise,” she said. Bringing all parties to the table to address the issue candidly, as a violation of people and relationships rather than a violation of the law, can remedy the situation and prevent harms.</p> <h2>Seeking Restitution</h2> <p>Later in the Forum Judith Stein, executive director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, covered gaining proper access to healthcare and the rights of elders and people with disabilities, mentioning that, oddly, there are elder justice issues within Medicare itself, in how it’s worded.</p> <p>Lori Smetanka, executive director of Consumer Voice shared harrowing tales of what went on in nursing homes during COVID. As older adult safety from the virus was seen as paramount, they were often left isolated in their rooms, unable to leave, even for a shower.</p> <p>“Some say there were more than 40,000 deaths due to isolation alone,” said Smetanka.</p> <p>Elders were moved from rooms or even facilities with little notice, one person she spoke with hadn’t left her room in six months. Another stepped outside for some fresh air and wasn’t allowed back in. What Smetanka described was extreme trauma to a vulnerable population.</p> <p>Meanwhile, more than 30 states enacted immunity legislation on the part of the facility owners, preventing families from gaining restitution.</p> <p>The panel then switched subjects as Charles Golbert, a judge-appointed Cook County Public Guardian, zeroed in on financial exploitation and all the work he and his staff of 200 have done across the past 10 years to recover $50 million for victimized older adults.</p> <p>“We’re strong believers in putting elder abuses in the spotlight and we are aggressive about getting publicity for what has happened,” he said.</p> <p>This Forum provided a window into the daily trauma that can occur in elders’ lives, but the people involved in fighting it are an inspiring group well worth listening to.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Media</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/340" hreflang="en">Profile of an older Asian women</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Issue</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/may-june-2021" hreflang="en">May-June 2021</a></div> </div> Tue, 18 May 2021 05:00:00 +0000 asa_admin 377 at http://generations.asaging.org Resilience Learned After 55 Years of Struggle: A Lesbian Elder Remembers http://generations.asaging.org/resilience-learned-after-55-years-struggle <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Resilience Learned After 55 Years of Struggle: A Lesbian Elder Remembers</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6" class="username">asa_admin</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 05/18/2021 - 07:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/justice-equity" hreflang="en">Justice &amp; Equity</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/health-well-being" hreflang="en">Health &amp; Well-being</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-channel field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Channel</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/generations-today" hreflang="en">Generations Today</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-text field--type-string-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Text</div> <div class="field__item">‘Now one of my primary political concerns is the particular needs of LGBTQ elders.’</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-paragraphs field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Paragraphs</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p class="dropcaps">When Esther, the new student, walked into my high school homeroom in 1963, our junior year, it was love at first sight for both of us. We were 16 and our emotions were powerful and true. But Esther and I had no language—words like “out” weren’t yet coined and “queer” and “dyke” were still slurs. We had no literature, no role models, no positive films, nowhere to go. We knew that the way in which we were “best friends” had to remain a secret, but we couldn’t describe why—even to each other. This should have been a happy love story—and it was for the next two years—until it was turned into a nightmare.</p> <p>When we were “caught” toward the end of high school, the results were dire. She took an overdose and was sent away to live with a distant aunt. I was forced into seeing a psychiatrist whose interest in my case was anything but helpful. “And then what did you do to her? And what did she do to you?” he asked, breathlessly, in every single session.</p> <h2>Perfecting the Ways of the Closet</h2> <p>Two girls in love? According to the medical journal The Lancet, “homosexuality was classified as a mental illness in the DSM until 1973, when it was replaced with the diagnosis of ‘sexual orientation disturbance.’ ” Also, it was illegal. This continued to be the case in more than a dozen U.S. states until the Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas—and that was in 2003!</p> <p>When in the autumn of 1965 I went far away to college, I spent four years perfecting the ways of the closet. We prepared our apartments for instant transformation: Incriminating photographs were placed where they could be quickly taken down and shoved in a nearby drawer. An extra bedroom with clothes in the wardrobe and sheets on the bed was kept ready, or alternatively the couch had to be a sleeper.</p> <p>At work, we used opposite gender pronouns to disguise the sex of the person with whom we spent weekends. Lesbians and gay men made up agreements of “romantic” convenience when parents visited or there was a work party to attend, sometimes even marrying to get their families and society off their backs. That relationship was called “a beard”—as in, “Who is John to her? He’s her beard.”</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>‘At work, we used opposite gender pronouns to disguise the sex of the person with whom we spent weekends.’</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>The only place to meet was—if you were in a big city—a bar, where, like a speakeasy, the owners paid off the cops and then charged exorbitant prices for watered down drinks in nasty basement venues. If you got lucky, you hooked up with a group of women who had small parties in their own homes.</p> <p>Even at the start of the women’s movement, there was homophobia, notoriously in NOW (National Organization of Women). But within a year we broke through what Betty Friedan rudely called “the lavender menace” and took our rightful place as “out” leaders and activists.</p> <p>I threw myself into the women’s liberation movement in 1968. Then, in 1969, following the first widely publicized gay rebellion against police harassment at the Stonewall Inn (in New York City), I was on the ground floor of Boston’s gay liberation movement. And what a movement it was!</p> <h2>Civil Rights Earned, and Sometimes Taken Back</h2> <p>I ended up in passionate, innovative collectives as we created a network of brilliance: dances, newspapers, literary journals, bookstores, music festivals, direct action organizations, feminist therapy, art collectives, underground radio stations. The 1970s were a period of such liberation and flowering for women in general, and lesbians in particular, that they are remembered by many of us pioneers as the absolute high point of our lives.</p> <p>Fast forward to the 2000s and now one of my primary political concerns is the particular needs of LGBTQ elders. At 73, I’m well aware of the threat of being tossed back into the closet if and when I need care by strangers. When you are dependent upon people who may have a religious or personal disgust with the idea of homosexuality, you need to hide your identity.</p> <p>If you get that care at home, you may be back to hiding photographs of your real life and loves. If you get that care in an institution, you must warn your visitors to guard their behavior. No one wants their butt wiped by a person who thinks they are headed for hell.</p> <p>We face additional obstacles. More than 20 percent of LGBTQ elders are not out to their doctors, putting a crimp in their ability to receive appropriate care. Our poverty rates are higher than the general population, as are the numbers of us who live alone. We have far fewer children and grandchildren to look after us and many of us were alienated from our homophobic biological families.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>‘Churches were, for decades, unforgiving and judgmental.’</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Gay men lost far too many people of their generation to AIDS. Churches were, for decades, unforgiving and judgmental. In addition, elders of color suffer all the barriers of racism—with poorer healthcare, generational economic unfairness and obstructed access to resources. And so our social isolation can be dangerously intense.</p> <p>But we know what to do. We are building a movement of older LGBTQ folks—and in many cases it has served us well during the pandemic. We have Zoom socials, sometimes featuring our performing artists; we have lectures, game nights and workshops on mourning during COVID. I teach writing for the LGBTQ Rainbow Lifelong Learning Institute.</p> <p>I just ran a panel called “Writing Elders” for ReadOut, a lesbian literary festival that attracted more than 900 on Zoom. Our community-building skills from the old days are, 50 years later, just what the doctor ordered.</p> <hr /><p><em>Sue Katz is a journalist and fiction writer who has been published in anthologies, magazines and online on the three continents where she has lived. She began her lifelong activism in the civil rights movement in the early 1960s. Her first play was recently produced by the prestigious The Theater Offensive in honor of Stonewall 50. Her fiction books, often focusing on the lives of elders, include A Raisin in My Cleavage: short and shorter stories, Lillian’s Last Affair and other stories, and Lillian in Love. Visit her long-running blog Consenting Adult at </em><a href="http://www.suekatz.com/">www.suekatz.com</a><em> or email her at </em><a href="mailto:sue.katz@yahoo.com">sue.katz@yahoo.com</a><em>.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Media</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/342" hreflang="en">Older woman looking away, outdoors</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-byline field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Byline</div> <div class="field__item"><p><strong>In Focus</strong><br /> By Sue Katz</p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Issue</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/may-june-2021" hreflang="en">May-June 2021</a></div> </div> Tue, 18 May 2021 05:00:00 +0000 asa_admin 379 at http://generations.asaging.org Whether Coming Out or In http://generations.asaging.org/whether-coming-out-or <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden"> Whether Coming Out or In</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6" class="username">asa_admin</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 05/18/2021 - 07:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/justice-equity" hreflang="en">Justice &amp; Equity</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/health-well-being" hreflang="en">Health &amp; Well-being</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-channel field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Channel</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/generations-today" hreflang="en">Generations Today</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-text field--type-string-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Text</div> <div class="field__item">‘The journey to one’s authentic self and sharing that self with others is a personal decision.’</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-paragraphs field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Paragraphs</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p class="dropcaps">Every person has a sexual orientation and gender identity, but most individuals do not question either. Within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community, “coming out of the closet” is the act of journeying, accepting and sharing one’s sexual orientation and gender identity with oneself and others. While public perception may view coming out of the closet as a singular event, the reality is that coming out is lifelong, a personal decision and a unique journey for each individual.</p> <p>There is a common narrative that LGBTQ older adults come out later in life, and only then, after coming out, are they “finally” able to be who they “truly” are. While these stories are moving and highlight LGBTQ older adults’ resilience (and the level of protective concealment), that narrative is just one example of many realities. LGBTQ older adults are diverse in identities and experiences. Though coming out of the closet may seem a quintessential act of living “truly,” LGBTQ older adults, as all LGBTQ people, vary in their desire, need and feeling of safety with being “out.”</p> <h2>Three LGBTQ Generations Through History</h2> <p>An estimated 2.4 million adults older than age 50 self-identify as LGBTQ in the United States. The total population will double to 5 million by 2060. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5241759/">Fredriksen-Goldsen and Kim’s (2017)</a> research indicates that when considering same-sex attraction, behavior and romantic relationship of those who do not identify as LGBTQ, the estimated population size more than doubles. By 2060, this larger cohort will reach 20 million. While the LGBTQ older adult population shares sexual orientation and gender identity as a unifying identifier, the group differs in age, shared societal influences and experience, as well as legal landscapes. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5375167/">Fredriksen-Goldsen (2016)</a> categorized these differences into three generations: the Invisible Generation, the Silent Generation, and the Pride Generation.</p> <p>Each generation came of age in distinct eras. The Invisible Generation came of age in a society with no public discourse on LGBTQ people. The Silent Generation came face-to-face with public attacks on the community. For example, the federal government labeled LGBTQ individuals as security threats (<a href="https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2016/summer/lavender.html">Lavender Scare</a>), states criminalized same-sex acts and the American Psychiatric Association classified homosexuality as a mental illness. LGBTQ older adults of this generation often remained silent out of fear and self-protection.</p> <p>The Pride Generation experienced incredible social change (i.e., Stonewall, Civil Rights movement, repeal of homosexuality as a mental illness). However, collective trauma and grief remained from the AIDS pandemic. The Pride Generation is more likely to be out, but <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5375167/">faces greater discrimination rates</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>‘When a person hides in The Closet, we act as if it is their responsibility to come out.’</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>LGBTQ older adults must consider the act of coming out not only in terms of sharing their identity but also while recognizing the risk of being out in the environment in which they live. Often the act of coming out and the expectation to “show us who you truly are” does not take into account the risk of loss, backlash and genuine fear.</p> <p>In their 2019 memoir <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Sissy-Coming-Gender-Jacob-Tobia/dp/073521882X"><em>Sissy: A Coming-Of Gender Story</em></a>, Jacob Tobia describes the experience of “coming out,” not as an act of exiting the closet but instead “coming out” is akin to a snail emerging from its shell. Tobia writes, “When a person hides in The Closet, we act as if it is their responsibility to come out.” A snail going into its shell is not deemed cowardly or withholding, but rather seen as exhibiting a natural reaction to a threatening environment. No longer is one cast as “hiding out” or “staying” in the closet. Instead, it is recognized that one’s environment, social circle and relationships all impact a person feeling supported (or not) to come out.</p> <h2>Recovering From an Anti-LGBTQ Administration</h2> <p>While historical events heavily influence the fear and desire to stay in the protective shell, the very recent past, such as the <a href="https://www.hrc.org/resources/trumps-timeline-of-hate">most anti-LGBTQ administration</a> in office, evoked a new level of anxiety and need for concealment.</p> <p>When Congress called the election in favor of Donald Trump, many working toward LGBTQ equality under the law feared four years of rolling back hard-earned rights and protections. From the Transgender military ban to proposing a change in interpreting Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (to withdraw explicit protections for LGBTQ people in healthcare), the Trump administration <a href="https://www.hrc.org/resources/trumps-timeline-of-hate">left a trail of harmful actions</a> toward the community.</p> <p>Though the current administration supports LGBTQ equality, the United States still lacks comprehensive, consistent and explicit anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. These protections would apply to critical areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, public spaces and services, federally funded programs and jury services. <a href="https://www.hrc.org/resources/the-equality-act">The Equality Act </a>would solidify these anti-discrimination federal protections. While work on protections for LGBTQ individuals continues at the federal and state levels, those working with older adults have an opportunity to create institutional change by implementing LGBTQ-inclusive culture, policy and practices.</p> <p>Readily available research shows LGBTQ individuals, compared to non-LGBTQ peers, have higher rates of chronic illness, disabilities, mental distress and poor general health. Combined with a higher likelihood to be single and without children, LGBTQ older adults will often need residential long-term care and services. A new initiative by <a href="https://www.sageusa.org/">SAGE </a>and <a href="https://www.thehrcfoundation.org/">The Human Rights Campaign Foundation</a>, the <a href="https://thelei.org/">Long-Term Care Equality Index</a>, supports residential long-term care providers in their efforts to improve LGBTQ-inclusive policies, procedures and outreach. <a href="https://www.lgbtagingcenter.org/">The National Resource Center on LGBTQ Aging</a> hosts resources and <a href="https://www.lgbtagingcenter.org/resources/pdfs/Sage_GuidebookFINAL1.pdf">guides </a>for all professionals in the aging field.</p> <p>The journey to one’s authentic self and sharing that self with others is a personal decision. Understanding the complexities and factors that influence “coming out” heightens sensitivity and awareness of this resilient population. Because of historical instances and recent attacks on LGBTQ rights, some LGBTQ older adults may continue to protect themselves, not disclose their identity and remain in a protective shell. Nevertheless, as professionals, there is an opportunity and responsibility to work toward an environment and society where LGBTQ adults feel safe and age with dignity and respect.</p> <hr /><p><em>Dan Stewart, MSG, is the associate director of the Aging Equality Project at The Human Rights Campaign Foundation in Washington, DC.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Media</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/348" hreflang="en">Older man</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-byline field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Byline</div> <div class="field__item"><p><strong>In Focus</strong><br /> By Dan Stewart</p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Issue</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/may-june-2021" hreflang="en">May-June 2021</a></div> </div> Tue, 18 May 2021 05:00:00 +0000 asa_admin 380 at http://generations.asaging.org Know Oneself, Name Oneself … Or Something Else http://generations.asaging.org/know-oneself-name-oneself-or-something-else <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Know Oneself, Name Oneself … Or Something Else</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6" class="username">asa_admin</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 05/18/2021 - 07:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/justice-equity" hreflang="en">Justice &amp; Equity</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/ageism-culture" hreflang="en">Ageism &amp; Culture</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/health-well-being" hreflang="en">Health &amp; Well-being</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-channel field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Channel</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/generations-today" hreflang="en">Generations Today</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-text field--type-string-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Text</div> <div class="field__item">&#039;At age 44, should I have already properly named and mastered myself?’</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-paragraphs field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Paragraphs</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p class="dropcaps">What does it mean to know one’s self and then name one’s self based on that knowledge? What does it mean for the complexity that often characterizes the lived experience? Does it mean ideas of the future become organized and labeled in such a way to show that we have mastered our individual and even collective selves and know what is to come?</p> <p>Should those of us heading into middle age already know who we are and assume we will always be the same from a certain point forward? Should we stop thinking of new terms to describe how we feel and identify? At age 44, should I have already properly named and mastered myself?</p> <p>The New Oxford American Dictionary defines the verb “master” with an object, as in, “acquire complete knowledge or skill in” and “gain control of; overcome.” With that concept of mastery in mind, I wonder if the goal is to learn about myself to such a degree that I fully grasp and have named the intricacies of my past, present and future. Or might my efforts be better focused on a process of letting go of who I think I am and who I have become? Might I look to unbecoming and de-mastery to see what else is available for me, who else I could be, and what unexpected joy I might find or rediscover?  </p> <p>In my early teens, my close friends and I let go of rigid racial, sexual and gender norms and listened to bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Mission UK, Cocteau Twins, Sisters of Mercy and Christian Death. We wore patent leather thigh-high stiletto boots, flowy miniskirts, fishnet stockings on our legs and arms, studded chokers, ruffle shirts and heavy makeup. We dyed our hair different colors, sometimes red, purple, green or rainbow.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Should we already know who we are and assume we will always be the same from a certain point forward?</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Although underage, we went to clubs and parties where others like us gathered and shadow-danced. We, a collection of oddballs in dark clothing, were “gothic.” I was gothic and living for every minute of it. My gender, sexual and racial designations and expressions found wiggle room under that term. Social conventions were wrought into different aesthetic and affective forms. It was a vivacious and imaginative time in my life.  </p> <p>Now, decades have passed since my adolescence, and my days have seen their fair share of pretty major twists and turns. Right now I have a good career and money is okay, for which I am extremely grateful. I have worked hard and absolutely love that I am able to educate young people about health science, while serving in marginalized communities.</p> <h2>The Process of Reassessing Oneself</h2> <p>However, as I reflect on the course of my life I notice that certain moments in my personal trajectory trigger a deep assessment of who I am, what I am doing and what I want. Who I thought I was and wanted evolves, in expected and unexpected directions.</p> <p>This happened when I was gay bashed in the early ’90s.</p> <p>This happened as a teenage high heel–wearing gothic kid when I buckled to the pressures of heteronormative sociocultural demands and butched up.</p> <p>This happened when I battled addiction and then chose sobriety.</p> <p>This happened when I chose to go back to college and graduated from UCLA.</p> <p>This happened when I conducted my research and finished graduate school.</p> <p>This happened when I got a job in public health at a local AIDS service organization.</p> <p>This happened when I became a health science educator.</p> <p>This happened when certain friends and family members were diagnosed with life-changing medical conditions such as cancer and HIV.</p> <p>This happened when I lost an uncle to COVID-19 this past February.</p> <p>This happened not too long ago when I chose to once again start wearing heels and skirts, as I wore them when I identified as gothic. That era coincided with the rise of a newer identity term that became part of larger public discourse, directly affecting me: “Latinx.”  </p> <p>Philosopher Michel Foucault, among others, pushed us to consider the ways in which a term, an identity, might feel liberating, but could also function as part of systems of discipline and control.</p> <p>As someone who values Foucault’s work, I do not take lightly his caution about identity politics. Let me be clear, I am skeptical of the articulation and representation of any given identity, label, term or category as an end point in and of itself when it comes to collective and individual political struggle and freedom.</p> <p>Ideas like mine about identity and politics are plentiful across different areas of social activism and thought. But I would like to build upon, via my personal narrative, the claim that while identity terms may not inevitably lead to liberation, we can still use reworkings of them to let go of who we think we are. This in service to what Columbia University Professor Jack Halberstam calls “failing, losing, forgetting, unmaking, undoing, unbecoming, not knowing.”</p> <p>One might draw parallels between aspects of Halberstam’s queer elaboration on failure and the theory of “de-mastery.”    </p> <p>A decade ago, scholar Sandra K. Soto formed a theory on the terms “Chican@” and “queer” in relation to what she called de-mastery. She describes de-mastery as “… a structure of feeling whose force is precisely in its unintelligibility, what Raymond Williams eloquently describes as ‘something not yet come,’ something still ‘at the very edge of semantic availability’.”</p> <h2>Exploring a New Identity Category</h2> <p>As the term “gothic” allowed me to find community and express myself in ways that had been unknown and unintelligible, so, too, does a newer identity category. The term Latinx fairly recently became part of public consciousness and discourse. Its development and deployment were meant to signify, at least in part, gender and sexual inclusiveness in connection to the Spanish language and people of Latin American and Caribbean descent.</p> <p>Being of Mexican origin, I was thrilled to see Latinx, like Chican@ before it, pushing people to examine individual and cultural biases and linguistic exclusions. Quickly, though, Foucault’s ghost haunted my optimistic feelings and checked my excitement for the term.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>‘I am skeptical of the articulation and representation of any given identity, label, term or category as an end point in and of itself.’</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>However, I would be lying if I did not admit that the idea of Latinx continues to stimulate me. As briefly mentioned above—channeling the work of Michel Foucault, Jack Halberstam and Sandra Soto—a few years ago I began a process of letting go of who I am and embarked on a personal journey of unbecoming and de-mastery.</p> <p>I let myself foster and feel a desire to express myself more femininely, an action comparable only to when I was gothic. That desire manifested itself into the courage to start wearing heels and makeup, to transition into something else, into another domain of existence.</p> <p>Latinx is a term that I have recently adopted and use cautiously, not because I want to verbalize and define a sense of who I am, as if I have mastered myself. Instead, it is a contested term that has been subject to critique, in some cases for good reason and others not, and this is precisely what I like about it. I like what it is doing for the community much more so than what it tries to label and identify.</p> <p>It helps us to think harder about how we collectively and individually understand gender and make room for it in our lives and languages. As I follow the different perspectives and debates about the term Latinx, I find myself ruminating on rediscovered joys and maybe an unknown me, a de-mastered me with the most beautiful gender expressiveness.</p> <p>I do not look to Latinx to name myself because of master knowledge and understanding of who I am nor to “liberate” myself or any “we” associated with me—for application of the term remains contested and its future uncertain. Yet, this unknown is precisely why I look to Latinx to help with the ongoing work of rethinking and remaking myself. I look to it for inspiration to let go and unbecome and for the potentiality of de-mastery.</p> <hr /><p><em>Gabby Solorio, MA, is a professional health sciences educator whose research and technical interests include identity and risk-behavior, public health prevention, infectious disease, and health disparities. Before their current position in education, they led the Educational Outreach and Prevention Program at AIDS Service Center, one of Southern California’s first AIDS service organizations, and was also a temporary lecturer in San Francisco State University’s College of Ethnic Studies.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Media</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/346" hreflang="en">Abstract butterfly in front of silhouette of a dancing person </a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-byline field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Byline</div> <div class="field__item"><p><strong>In Focus</strong><br /> By Gabby Solorio</p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Issue</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/may-june-2021" hreflang="en">May-June 2021</a></div> </div> Tue, 18 May 2021 05:00:00 +0000 asa_admin 381 at http://generations.asaging.org Trump Set LGBT Rights Backward for Older Adults—but Biden Can Undo That http://generations.asaging.org/lgbt-rights-set-back-elders-biden-can-undo <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Trump Set LGBT Rights Backward for Older Adults—but Biden Can Undo That</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6" class="username">asa_admin</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 05/18/2021 - 07:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/justice-equity" hreflang="en">Justice &amp; Equity</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/ageism-culture" hreflang="en">Ageism &amp; Culture</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/health-well-being" hreflang="en">Health &amp; Well-being</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-channel field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Channel</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/generations-today" hreflang="en">Generations Today</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-text field--type-string-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Text</div> <div class="field__item">Biden’s administration and a pro-equality majority in Congress can advance a range of policies supporting LGBT older adults.</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-paragraphs field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Paragraphs</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p class="dropcaps">When I first joined the LGBT aging movement in early 2010, overseeing <a href="https://www.sageusa.org/">SAGE's</a> national advocacy efforts, the federal landscape was brimming with promise.</p> <p>I joined SAGE–Advocacy &amp; Services for LGBT Elders months after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had seeded funding to establish the country’s first resource center focused on LGBT aging, the <a href="https://www.lgbtagingcenter.org/">National Resource Center on LGBT Aging</a>. The Center would over time evolve its training approach into <a href="https://sageusa.care/about-us/">SAGECare</a> and reach more than 95,000 long-term care providers with LGBT competency training.</p> <p>Under President Barack Obama, those years were flush with positive change: advocates in our LGBT and aging fields held regular meetings and briefings with federal officials on critical issues. We produced seminal <a href="https://www.lgbtmap.org/improving-the-lives-of-lgbt-older-adults">policy reports</a> and consistently crafted legal guidance that would translate into scores of new rules and regulations for LGBT older people, <a href="https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/06/09/fact-sheet-obama-administrations-record-and-lgbt-community">significantly expanding their protections and supports</a> across departments and agencies. Historic moments such as a <a href="http://216.119.100.67/advocacy/federal.cfm">storytelling event at the White House</a> featuring LGBT elders, or the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/27/us/supreme-court-same-sex-marriage.html">2015 Supreme Court ruling</a> that allowed same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide were part of a series of hard-earned achievements.</p> <p>Yet all this progress would soon come to a screeching halt.</p> <p>Donald Trump's election as president—as history has shown—reversed many of these wins, bringing about a frightening new policy landscape for LGBT older adults. During his four years in office, Trump’s White House set LGBT rights backward, but also fueled an LGBT aging movement that has long fought back against repressive policies and discrimination.</p> <p>As President Joe Biden begins his tenure, what lessons can be drawn from the Trump years, and how can federal leaders bring about a new reality for LGBT older people?</p> <h2>Trump Attacks</h2> <p>Almost immediately after taking office, President Trump’s administration began implementing various measures that stripped LGBT people of their rights and harmed LGBT elders.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>‘One especially callous rule aimed to allow healthcare providers to refuse to treat LGBT people as a matter of ‘religious freedom.’</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>In March 2017, HHS <a href="https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbtq-rights/news/2017/03/20/428623/trump-administration-rolling-back-data-collection-lgbt-older-adults/">removed questions about LGBT people from two vital surveys</a>: the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants, which every year measures how older adults receive social support and nutrition services under the Older Americans Act—a signature federal law that provides billions of dollars annually to the national Aging Network—and the Annual Program Performance Report for Centers for Independent Living, which assesses whether people with disabilities (of all ages) are properly receiving necessary services in their homes and communities. Removing LGBT measures from these surveys made it more challenging to know whether LGBT people, and LGBT older adults in particular, were experiencing barriers to access—<a href="https://www.lgbtagingcenter.org/resources/pdfs/LGBTOlderAdultsandExclusionfromAgingPrograms.pdf">a longstanding challenge</a>. </p> <p>In the next few years, <a href="https://transequality.org/the-discrimination-administration">similar actions ensued</a>. The federal government removed LGBT-specific references and resources from its various websites, appointed several federal officials and judges with known histories of anti-LGBT bias, and advanced lawsuits and policies to erode and ultimately eliminate protections for LGBT people, including older adults.</p> <p>In early 2020, as COVID-19 emerged and took hold, HHS announced <a href="https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2019/05/trump-administration-issues-rule-allows-healthcare-workers-discriminate-lgbtq-people/">an especially callous rule</a> that aimed to allow healthcare providers to refuse to treat LGBT people as a matter of "religious freedom," as well as a rule that <a href="https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2019/05/trump-admin-proposes-rule-allow-healthcare-providers-discriminate-trans-people/">undercut transgender protections</a> in the Affordable Care Act. The health of LGBT people became expendable in the federal culture war—at a time when tens of thousands of people were dying in an unprecedented health crisis.</p> <p><a href="https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/healthcare/news/2020/10/29/492541/trump-administration-treats-seniors-expendable/">Alongside these egregious attacks</a>, LGBT older adults were also harmed by the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back the Affordable Care Act (which, if eliminated, would make it more difficult for older adults to afford the costs of medications or insurance premiums); its unwillingness to negotiate more affordable drug prices through federal Medicare reform; and its weak and ultimately catastrophic response to the COVID-19 crisis, which disproportionately ravaged older adults and people of color, especially those living in <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/know-your-value/feature/39-covid-19-deaths-have-occurred-nursing-homes-many-could-ncna1250374">nursing homes</a>.</p> <p>The Trump administration’s viciousness compounded discrimination faced by segments of the LGBT older adult population, including people of color, immigrants and low-income people. A few of the more salient policies in this regard included <a href="https://www.adl.org/education/resources/tools-and-strategies/what-is-the-muslim-ban">an executive order</a> that banned entry to refugees and travelers from certain Muslim countries; numerous <a href="https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/a-guide-to-some-major-trump-administration-immigration-policies/">draconian measures</a> related to immigration; and harmful federal <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-budget-cuts-medicaid-food-stamps-social-safety-net/">budget cuts</a> to Medicaid, SNAP and other safety net supports for low-income people.</p> <p>While all these actions amplified <a href="https://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/aging">the vulnerability of LGBT older adults</a>, they also set the stage for an organized response from the LGBT field.</p> <h2>LGBT Aging Advocates Fight Back</h2> <p>I reached out to Aaron Tax, the director of advocacy at SAGE, to help me understand how SAGE and its allies responded to these concerning developments. Tax oversees SAGE’s federal advocacy and has worked with leaders on the Hill for years to coordinate and advance an LGBT aging policy agenda.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>SAGE scored big when it succeeded in ensuring that the OAA designate a portion of its services and supports to LGBT elders.</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>When the Trump administration removed LGBT-specific measures from two federal surveys critical to LGBT older people, <a href="https://actionnetwork.org/letters/trump-administration-erasing-lgbt-elders">SAGE</a>, <a href="https://www.thetaskforce.org/current_action/stop-trumps-erasure-of-lgbtq-older-people-and-lgbtq-people-with-disabilities/">the National LGBTQ Task Force</a>, and other national organizations mobilized their sizable audiences of supporters to help reverse these changes—and they partially won. (Sexual orientation measures were re-inserted in the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants, but gender identity was not.)</p> <p>Throughout the Trump era, SAGE and other organizations also publicly condemned many of the other actions described above, educating the public and key decision makers about the potential harm of these new policies and strengthening their advocacy apparatus to better respond both during and after Trump’s presidency.</p> <p>SAGE even scored a win when it <a href="https://www.sageusa.org/news-posts/celebrates-older-americans-act-2020/">recently succeeded in ensuring</a> that the Older Americans Act designate a portion of its sizable services and supports to LGBT older adults.</p> <p>"LGBT older adults cannot afford to wait for their rights," said Tax. "Even during turbulent times, we need to keep fighting to ensure that all LGBT people can age in good health, financially secure, and socially connected in their communities."</p> <h2>A Way Forward</h2> <p>President Biden's election represents <a href="https://www.sageusa.org/news-posts/sage-welcomes-historic-pro-equality-administration/">a turning point</a> for LGBT older adults and their advocates.</p> <p>His expansive plan to “Advance LGBTQ+ Equality” includes historic measures related to LGBT aging services and supports, discrimination protections and healthcare access, among many other issues.</p> <p>Additionally, his $775 billion <a href="https://medium.com/@JoeBiden/the-biden-plan-for-mobilizing-american-talent-and-heart-to-create-a-21st-century-caregiving-and-af5ba2a2dfeb">caregiving plan</a> outlines numerous ideas to strengthen long-term care and improve supports for family caregivers and direct care workers, which would also directly benefit older LGBT adults.</p> <p>In early May, President Biden also barred federally funded healthcare entities from discriminating based on gender identity or sexual orientation, reversing former President Trump's rule that rolled back transgender protections in healthcare.</p> <p>Aaron Tax believes that the Biden administration and a new pro-equality majority in Congress—whether through legislation or regulatory and administrative reform—can advance a range of policies that support LGBT older adults, including: non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity and HIV status in long-term care settings; improved data collection and additional research on various LGBT aging topics (including reinstating the gender identity question in the National Survey of Older Americans Participants); enhanced support for older adults with HIV, many of whom are LGBT; <a href="https://www.lambdalegal.org/blog/lgbt-older-adults-seniors-elders-coronavirus">LGBT-specific COVID relief</a>; an expanded definition of “family” that includes families of choice in all paid leave and family caregiving laws; and more.</p> <p>Additionally, SAGE is championing many other issues in a variety of federal bills that were introduced last year, including <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/7209?s=1&amp;r=76">the Anthony Gonzalez Equality for Survivors Act</a>, <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/2312?s=1&amp;r=2">the Elder Pride Act</a>, the <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/1159">Inclusive Aging Act </a>and the <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1777/text">Ruthie and Connie LGBT Elder Americans Act</a>—among key provisions addressing Social Security survivors’ benefits for same-sex couples, increasing funding for LGBT-specific aging services nationwide and more.</p> <p>Another item of legislation, <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/5/text">the Equality Act</a>—which would explicitly ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment, federally funded programs and public accommodations, including many long-term care settings—already passed the U.S. House of Representatives in late February and is headed to the U.S. Senate for a vote. Its passage would be monumental.</p> <p>As both the Trump era and the COVID-19 pandemic have reinforced, LGBT older adults remain vulnerable to lawmakers and pandemics, but they also embody the resilience that a lifetime of discrimination can create in a marginalized community.</p> <p>The year 2021 will likely yield a positive shift for LGBT older people—but critical work will be needed in the years ahead to retain these gains and prevent another crisis like the one experienced over the last four years.</p> <hr /><p><em>Robert Espinoza, MPA, is the vice president of policy at PHI in the Bronx, NY, and serves on ASA’s Board of Directors, as well as chairing ASA’s Editorial Advisory Board for Generations Today.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Media</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/347" hreflang="en">The White House is lit up in rainbow colors </a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-byline field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Byline</div> <div class="field__item"><p><strong>In Focus</strong><br /> By Robert Espinoza</p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Issue</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/may-june-2021" hreflang="en">May-June 2021</a></div> </div> Tue, 18 May 2021 05:00:00 +0000 asa_admin 382 at http://generations.asaging.org LGBT Elders’ Health Affected by Interpersonal, Institutional and Cultural Violence http://generations.asaging.org/lgbt-elders-health-and-violence <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">LGBT Elders’ Health Affected by Interpersonal, Institutional and Cultural Violence </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6" class="username">asa_admin</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 05/18/2021 - 07:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/justice-equity" hreflang="en">Justice &amp; Equity</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/health-well-being" hreflang="en">Health &amp; Well-being</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-channel field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Channel</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/generations-today" hreflang="en">Generations Today</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-text field--type-string-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Text</div> <div class="field__item">The lack of data is the data—it exacerbates invisibility. </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-paragraphs field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Paragraphs</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p class="dropcaps">Violence against LGBT people, particularly against transgender communities, continues to plague our society. It is an underreported and insidious epidemic, built into systems often deemed neutral. Thankfully, and despite blatant <a href="https://fenwayhealth.org/during-first-term-in-office-trump-administration-enacted-more-anti-lgbtqia-policies-than-any-previous-administration-with-devastating-consequences/">attempts </a>in the past four years to erase LGBT identities, increased advocacy is moving to protect LGBT communities from interpersonal, institutional and cultural violence. Still, often missing from growing awareness and anti-violence organizing is an entire segment of the population—elders.</p> <p>There are an estimated 3 million LGBT adults older than age 50, and that number is expected by 2030 to grow to around <a href="https://www.sageusa.org/what-we-do/national-resource-center-on-lgbt-aging/">7 million</a>. With increased awareness of the ways intergenerational trauma can be transmitted even <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/21/study-of-holocaust-survivors-finds-trauma-passed-on-to-childrens-genes">through DNA</a>, we are beginning to understand the ways in which identity-based harm can affect entire communities’ health and wellness.</p> <p>Many older adults came of age at a time when there was great prejudice and violence against LGBT people. The medical label of <a href="https://www.hrc.org/news/flashbackfriday-today-in-1973-the-apa-removed-homosexuality-from-list-of-me">mental illness</a> validated prejudice, and the use of conversion therapy and other cruel deprogramming procedures normalized harm at the hands of medical professionals, clinicians and other institutions of “care.”</p> <p>To make matters worse, discrimination and systemic erasure manifests in an invisibility in data collection, as LGBT identities have not historically been captured in surveys, medical trials or research. The lack of data, then, is the data—it exacerbates invisibility.</p> <p>This history may make people less willing to be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity. Stigma and massive loss due to HIV; rejection by families of origin; physical violence at the hands of loved ones, strangers or the police; government-condoned or initiated job loss, pay inequity or being outright barred from employment with no legal recourse; a lack of non-pathologizing medical services; housing discrimination; and the compounded violence and barriers faced by BIPOC elders all have impacted the aging LGBT community.</p> <p>LGBT elders carry these experiences and may develop their own survival mechanisms and protections, often manifesting in a sense of personal privacy and deep-rooted distrust of systems, even those systems intended to support them. This commonly erased history affects medical and provider mistrust. We see older adults heading back into the closet when it comes time to enter an assisted living facility or nursing home, as they are terrified of potential treatment by staff or neighbors.</p> <p>All of these factors have led to disproportionate rates of poverty, disengagement from medical care and high rates of isolation, ending in disparate physical and mental health outcomes that often catch up to us as we age. We see this manifested in long-term and chronic health challenges. Oppression, as we are learning, literally makes us sick.</p> <hr /><p><em>Sydney Kopp-Richardson is director of SAGE’s National LGBT Elder Housing Initiative in New York City.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Media</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/353" hreflang="en">Hands holding lgbt, trans, bi and pan flags</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-byline field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Byline</div> <div class="field__item"><p><strong>In Focus</strong><br /> By Sydney Kopp-Richardson</p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Issue</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/may-june-2021" hreflang="en">May-June 2021</a></div> </div> Tue, 18 May 2021 05:00:00 +0000 asa_admin 390 at http://generations.asaging.org Digital Equity: A Human Right Whose Time Has Come http://generations.asaging.org/digital-equity-human-right-whose-time-has-come <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Digital Equity: A Human Right Whose Time Has Come</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6" class="username">asa_admin</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 05/18/2021 - 07:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/justice-equity" hreflang="en">Justice &amp; Equity</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/innovation-social-impact" hreflang="en">Innovation &amp; Social Impact</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-channel field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Channel</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/generations-today" hreflang="en">Generations Today</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-text field--type-string-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Text</div> <div class="field__item">The pandemic has made clear that we can no longer ignore the digital divide.</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-paragraphs field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Paragraphs</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p class="dropcaps">Timeless, basic necessities in life have always included food, water, heat and shelter. More recently came electricity, with that technological miracle becoming ubiquitous in the last century. Today, a new necessity has emerged, and where it’s absent, the need is becoming starker by the day.</p> <p>When considering life’s necessities, “high-speed internet access” is not likely to pop up first. Yet, if you are reading this article, you are among the fortunate half of the world’s population who has access to the internet. Although access is rising, the <a href="https://www.un.org/en/content/digital-cooperation-roadmap/assets/pdf/Roadmap_for_Digital_Cooperation_EN.pdf">United Nations reports </a>that less than 54 percent of the world’s population can connect to the internet, leaving 3.6 billion people digitally deprived. In the poorest countries, only 19 percent have access.</p> <p>Access in developed countries is much higher, but not evenly distributed. Older people in particular have been left behind in the digital revolution. In the United States, a whopping 42 percent of Americans ages 65 or older—22 million people—have no broadband access to the internet, <a href="https://agingconnected.org/report/">according to a recently released report by Older Adults Technology Services</a> (OATS, an affiliate of AARP), in partnership with the Humana Foundation. Age is only second to poverty as the strongest determinant for lacking internet access in the United States. This matters.</p> <p>The necessity of internet access has been apparent (though not always acknowledged) for some time; the term digital divide was part of our lexicon as far back as the 1990s. Yet the pandemic has made clear that we can no longer ignore this reality.</p> <h2>COVID’s Unforgiving Truth Telling</h2> <p>In the 14 months since the World Health Organization officially declared the coronavirus to be a pandemic, there has been untold suffering. More than 500,000 people in the United States have died and millions more have lost their jobs or faced economic hardship. Health workers, caregivers and essential workers have endured unrelenting stress. Schools, religious institutions and virtually all other aspects of public life have been shuttered, while social isolation and loneliness have skyrocketed, imperiling us all. In many ways, the pandemic has been a profound exercise in empathy: for the first time, many of us are experiencing what it is like to be alone, afraid and isolated.</p> <p>Though COVID-19 touches us all, it also has exposed the falsehood that “we are all in this together.” A particularly glaring example of this is that older persons have suffered the most. According to the <a href="https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#demographics">CDC</a>, 95 percent of those who have died in the United States were ages 50 or older. In addition, 28 percent of older adults live alone, and the shelter-in-place requirements have exacerbated the dangerous health effects of loneliness. The AARP Foundation’s <a href="https://connect2affect.org/">Connect2Affect program</a> has been working to alleviate this, but connectivity is key. And COVID-19 has not harmed all groups equally. <a href="https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/latest-data-on-covid-19-vaccinations-race-ethnicity/">Black, Latino and Indigenous populations</a> have disproportionately borne the brunt of severe infections and deaths from COVID-19.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>‘A whopping 42 percent of Americans ages 65 or older—22 million people—have no broadband access to the internet.’</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Compounding these tragedies is the digital divide. For so many, broadband access has been a life raft—a portal to nearly every aspect of our lives. The pandemic made absolute what was already becoming clear: access to digital technology and high-speed internet is about access to everything else—essential health information, education and training, our work and our jobs, the ability to purchase goods and services, our entertainment and, perhaps most importantly, our ability to communicate and stay connected to one another. </p> <p>But this lifeline is not available to all. Multiple (and overlapping) digital divides reflect and amplify existing social and economic inequalities. Globally, we know that developed countries have much greater internet access than developing countries, and the <a href="https://www.un.org/en/content/digital-cooperation-roadmap/assets/pdf/Roadmap_for_Digital_Cooperation_EN.pdf">U.N. Secretary-General’s report</a> showed that in two out of three countries, more men than women use the internet—and that gender gap is growing. These challenges disproportionately affect migrants, refugees, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and other groups.</p> <p>In the United States, too, disparities abound. According to the new <a href="https://agingconnected.org/report/">OATS report on the connectivity crisis</a>, Black people were 2.6 times more likely to be offline, and Latinos were 3.4 times more likely to be offline than white people. Those living in areas with higher concentrations of poverty were 6.7 times more likely to lack broadband access, and those with yearly incomes lower than $25,000 were 10 times more likely to lack that access than those with higher incomes. Older adults who are single (2.7 times as likely) or <a href="https://www.aarp.org/home-family/personal-technology/info-2020/high-speed-internet-access.html">living in rural areas</a> (1.4 times as likely) have increased risk of being without home internet service.</p> <p>These numbers are alarming on their own, but the intersectionality of these factors only compound to increase the likelihood that people remain in the digital dark.</p> <h2>Awareness to Action</h2> <p>Before the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, there was evidence that multiple digital divides were becoming a crisis. For older people to fully engage in life and contribute to society, we must not lose focus on the essential necessity of affordable, high-speed access.</p> <p>Given the essential role of the internet in our life, closing the digital divide has become a fundamental issue of equity and social justice—and it must be seen as such by policymakers and the public alike. For older persons—indeed all persons—access to affordable, high-speed internet is a necessary, but insufficient part of the solution. To fully close the gap and capture the power of digital technology, we need to focus on the broader ecosystems to enable technology to be used inclusively.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>‘Young people are not “digital natives.” They are surrounded by others who teach them.’</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Technology companies need to be age-inclusive in their design and digital literacy training needs to become more widely available for all. As Joe Coughlin, director of the MIT AgeLab recently pointed out, “Young people are not ‘digital natives.’ They are surrounded by others who teach them.”</p> <p>To meaningfully close the digital divide and promote equity, we will need policy frameworks that support inclusion and access, smart regulatory environments, and focus and investment from the private sector. In short, all stakeholders need to put their full attention on this issue.</p> <p>Fortunately, awareness is growing, and there is reason for hope. AARP, viewing the promotion of digital equity as a strategic priority, has affiliated with OATS to promote greater digital literacy. The U.N., meanwhile, is prioritizing digital inclusion as part of its Roadmap to Digital Cooperation, an initiative of the Secretary-General, who also has convened <a href="https://www.un.org/en/digital-cooperation-panel/">high-level panels</a> of experts to increase attention and make recommendations.</p> <p>Also, recent reports by <a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/02/08/us-digital-divide-threatens-vaccine-access-older-people">Human Rights Watch</a> and the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/28/technology/seniors-vaccines-technology.html?action=click&amp;module=Well&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;section=Technology">New York Times</a> described how the digital divide threatened older Americans’ ability to gain access to COVID-19 vaccines. Helpfully, the FCC just approved the <a href="https://www.aarp.org/home-family/personal-technology/info-2021/fcc-subsidy-helps-broadband-internet-access.html">Emergency Broadband Benefit Program</a>, which provides low-income households with up to $50 a month to help cover internet bills during the pandemic.</p> <p>Like electricity in the past century, access to the internet is increasingly viewed for what it has already become: a human right. Now it’s up to all stakeholders to make it one afforded to all.</p> <hr /><p><em>Peter Rundlet is the Vice President of AARP International in Washington, D.C.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Media</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/279" hreflang="en">Abstract data/internet image</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-byline field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Byline</div> <div class="field__item"><p><strong>From Our Sponsors</strong><br /> By Peter Rundlet</p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Issue</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/may-june-2021" hreflang="en">May-June 2021</a></div> </div> Tue, 18 May 2021 05:00:00 +0000 asa_admin 374 at http://generations.asaging.org Aging While ... Seeking Social Change Through Social Impact Litigation http://generations.asaging.org/aging-while-seeking-social-change-through-social-impact-litigation <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Aging While ... Seeking Social Change Through Social Impact Litigation</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6" class="username">asa_admin</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 05/18/2021 - 07:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/innovation-social-impact" hreflang="en">Innovation &amp; Social Impact</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/ageism-culture" hreflang="en">Ageism &amp; Culture</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-channel field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Channel</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/generations-today" hreflang="en">Generations Today</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-text field--type-string-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Text</div> <div class="field__item">‘Social impact litigation is a key strategy for eliminating older adult poverty.’</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-paragraphs field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Paragraphs</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>Editor’s Note: This</em> <strong>Generations Today </strong><em>column, “Aging While ...” is sponsored by AARP Foundation. It focuses on creating and advancing innovative solutions that help older Americans build economic opportunity and social connectedness.</em></p> <hr /><p class="dropcaps">“Dead Wood. Millstones. Extraordinarily change-averse population, almost all … over 50 … .”</p> <p>The words that Ohio State administrators used to describe the older English as a Second Language (ESL) program teachers were demeaning. But their actions were even worse.</p> <p>Younger ESL teachers received choice assignments, promotions and private offices with their own computers. Older instructors had to share computers in a cramped open space. Eventually more than 20 older ESL staffers were pushed out of their jobs. Among them were Julianne Taaffe and Kathyrn Moon, who had built the ESL program since 1983 and enjoyed consistently first-rate performance reviews. They were forced out years earlier than planned after each had worked there for more than two decades. Neither could find comparable positions elsewhere.</p> <p>Taaffe, then 64, and Moon, then 59, turned to AARP Foundation, which joined with an Ohio law firm in 2015 to represent them in an age discrimination lawsuit. The fight was stressful, <a href="https://www.aarp.org/work/working-at-50-plus/info-2019/age-discrimination-court-cases.html">financially and emotionally</a>. Taaffe and her husband considered selling their home and putting off dental care. Taaffe lost 23 pounds from the stress. Moon developed back problems and put off home maintenance. Both women say they lost part of their identities when they had to leave work earlier they had intended.</p> <p>After several years of fighting in court, AARP Foundation and our co-counsel negotiated a settlement with Ohio State. In 2018, <a href="https://www.aarp.org/work/working-at-50-plus/info-2018/ohio-state-age-discrimination-lawsuit.html">the University rehired both women with back pay, retroactive benefits and attorneys’ fees totaling $765,000. The University committed to put policies in place and conduct staff training to prevent age discrimination from recurring.</a></p> <p>While Taaffe and Moon secured relief for themselves, lawsuits like theirs can drive broader social change. That is why, in addition to AARP Foundation’s robust direct service programs, social impact litigation is a key strategy for eliminating older adult poverty. When we employ the courts to protect older adults from age discrimination, secure their retirement by helping them obtain promised pensions and other benefits, maintain access to affordable quality healthcare and preserve their voting rights, we help ensure that older adults don’t slip into poverty.</p> <h2>Deterring Illegal Behavior</h2> <p>In the Ohio State case, the monetary settlement will provide economic redress for Taaffe, Moon and others harmed by Ohio State’s ageist treatment of its workers. Hopefully it will change one large state university’s treatment of its older workers to be more inclusive and even-handed.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>‘Transforming what people understand society to accept is, “one piece of how social change happens.” ’</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>But the Ohio State result may achieve other important goals. It will likely deter some universities from instituting ageist practices in the first place, knowing they might be sued. And, it could incentivize organizations to proactively change existing discriminatory practices to avoid costly litigation, negative media coverage and reputational harm.</p> <p>These effects on older adults’ job prospects complement AARP Foundation’s direct service programs that train and coach older adults to find new jobs or start their own businesses.</p> <h2>Changing Social Norms</h2> <p>Social impact litigation also can change harmful societal attitudes by reshaping social norms that influence behavior. Following the Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage in <em>Obergefell v. Hodges</em>, a <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0956797617709594">five-wave longitudinal time-series study</a> found an increase in perceived social norms supporting gay marriage.</p> <p>Rand Corporation researcher Margaret Tankard, who conducted the study, said, “These findings provide the first experimental evidence that an institutional decision can change perceptions of social norms, which have been shown to guide behavior ... ”</p> <p>Transforming what people understand society to accept is “one piece of how social change happens,” said Tankard. It follows that court decisions which alter social norms about the acceptability of age discrimination are critical to eradicating it.</p> <h2>Catalyzing and Accelerating Social Change</h2> <p>Social change can be accelerated through the courts when legislators are unwilling or unable to act and ballot initiatives and referenda can take years to succeed. Before the 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage, marriage equality supporters were fighting for their right to marry in 50 state legislatures, and through multiple ballot initiatives and referenda. In June 2015, the Supreme Court decision eliminated the need for state-by-state battles with its historic decision affirming that same-sex couples’ right to marry is guaranteed by the Constitution.</p> <p>Further back in history, the landmark Supreme Court decision, <em>Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka</em>, struck down racial segregation in public schools as unconstitutional, serving as a <a href="https://www.naacpldf.org/case-issue/landmark-brown-v-board-education/">major catalyst for the civil rights movement</a>. According to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the victory <a href="https://www.naacpldf.org/case-issue/landmark-brown-v-board-education/">helped make possible advances in desegregating housing, public accommodations and higher education institutions</a>.</p> <p>Positive litigation results may also, over time, create a factual record to support change in laws, regulations and policies on issues.</p> <h2>Setting Legal Precedents</h2> <p>Successful lawsuits also can set legal precedents that influence other cases affecting older adults. This occurred in a lawsuit where the financial security of retirees was threatened by a failing pension plan.</p> <p>When 150 former employees of Schenectady New York’s St. Clare’s Hospital learned that their long-promised pensions would be eliminated or cut due to the pension fund’s failing finances, AARP Foundation and other legal aid organizations filed suit to recover those pensions in <em>Hartshorne v. Roman Catholic Dioc. of Albany (N.Y. Sup. Ct.).</em></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>‘Social change can be accelerated through the courts when legislators are unwilling or unable to act.’</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Last July, the Schenectady County Supreme Court rejected the defendants’ effort to dismiss our case against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany and St. Clare’s Corporation. The court ruled that we successfully alleged that both defendants had breached their contract to provide these pensions and that the Archdiocese was their alter ego, potentially putting it on the financial hook.</p> <p>Despite the defendants’ appeal, we expect that this decision will reverberate favorably in other “church plan” pension cases around the country where the church’s involvement in an organization could shield its pension plan from financial liability. The pensions of <a href="C:\Users\drubin\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Outlook\ZWQOZP6Q\Spotlighting a threat to the retirement of up to a million health care workers, A">up to a million healthcare workers</a>, whose employers have ties to churches, could be positively affected by this decision.  </p> <h2>Ensuring Access to Affordable, Quality Healthcare</h2> <p>Another component of financial security as we age is access to affordable, quality healthcare, and health insurance is a key to that goal. Having health insurance helps older adults who are not yet eligible for Medicare, <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/cfsi-innovation-files-2018/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/11190158/AARPF_LMI50_Report_FINAL.pdf">especially those of low-to-moderate income</a>, to weather unexpected medical expenses and keep working and saving for retirement.</p> <p>That’s why AARP and AARP Foundation have consistently defended the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in courts across the country, and recently filed a Supreme Court amicus brief arguing that the ACA is constitutional. If the Supreme Court does not uphold the ACA’s constitutionality during its current court term, millions of older adults and other Americans will lose their healthcare coverage, which would be a catastrophe, especially during a global pandemic.</p> <p>The courts can assist here, too, by helping marginalized communities secure affordable, quality healthcare.</p> <p>This past June, healthcare access was threatened when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) moved to exclude LGBTQ individuals from a section of the ACA barring discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. AARP and AARP Foundation, along with SAGE, filed an amicus brief challenging this rule, arguing it would harm LGBTQ older adults. AARP’s brief emphasized the importance of ensuring equal access to healthcare for the LGBTQ community, especially as our nation grapples with a public health crisis. A preliminary injunction issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia prevents HHS from enforcing that change before the court hears the case.</p> <h2>Preserving Voting Rights</h2> <p>Ensuring that older adults can vote safely by absentee ballot or in-person, especially during the pandemic, is critical to guaranteeing they can exercise their fundamental right to vote. AARP and AARP Foundation have weighed in via amicus briefs and through litigation to protect voting rights around the country. Last July, in <em>NAACP Minnesota-Dakotas Area State Conference v. Simon</em>, AARP and AARP Foundation urged a Minnesota District Court in an amicus brief to send absentee ballots to all registered voters and waive a state requirement that a witness or notary sign voters’ ballot envelopes to vote in the primary.</p> <p>We argued that voters should not have to choose between risking their health and casting a ballot. The parties ultimately reached a settlement to waive enforcement of the Witness Requirement as requested by the plaintiffs. The parties later agreed that absentee ballot applications would be sent to all registered voters. Once the Minnesota District Court for Ramsey County approved it, and no appeal was filed, the settlement became final.</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>Social impact litigation protects the rights of older adults, removes barriers they face in accessing services and benefits and helps change societal attitudes that influence how those rights are respected and enforced.</p> <p>While we would prefer not to have to file a lawsuit to protect our rights, social impact litigation can be an effective driver of social change when laws are not adequately enforced or abided by, elected officials are slow to act or societal attitudes lag well behind what justice requires. It is a valuable tool as we work to ensure the future we envision for all.</p> <hr /><p><em>Lisa Marsh Ryerson is the president of AARP Foundation, in Washington, DC.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Media</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/221" hreflang="en">Justice</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-byline field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Byline</div> <div class="field__item"><p><strong>From Our Sponsors</strong><br /> By Lisa Marsh Ryerson</p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Issue</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/may-june-2021" hreflang="en">May-June 2021</a></div> </div> Tue, 18 May 2021 05:00:00 +0000 asa_admin 373 at http://generations.asaging.org We Must Support LGBT Caregivers Now More Than Ever http://generations.asaging.org/we-must-support-lgbt-caregivers-now-more-ever <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">We Must Support LGBT Caregivers Now More Than Ever</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6" class="username">asa_admin</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 05/18/2021 - 07:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/justice-equity" hreflang="en">Justice &amp; Equity</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/health-well-being" hreflang="en">Health &amp; Well-being</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-channel field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Channel</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/generations-today" hreflang="en">Generations Today</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-text field--type-string-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Text</div> <div class="field__item">‘LGBT caregivers may not be formally recognized as caregivers by healthcare providers.’</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-paragraphs field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Paragraphs</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em><strong>Editor’s Note:</strong> This article represents the third in a series by the Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) to be published in <strong>Generations Today</strong>. Articles are connected to ASA-hosted webinars; see end of article to register. The series of articles by the DEC highlights research from <a href="https://www.johnahartford.org/grants-strategy/addressing-unmet-family-caregiving-needs-in-diverse-older-communities">The Caregiving Initiative</a>, a multiyear research project funded by <a href="https://www.johnahartford.org/">The John A. Hartford Foundation</a>.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><hr /><p class="dropcaps">For many LGBT caregivers, 2020 was particularly difficult. Already saddled with discriminatory policies advanced by the previous presidential administration, LGBT caregivers and their older loved ones often were deterred from seeking care during the COVID-19 pandemic due to fears of discrimination. This harsh reality built upon pre-pandemic challenges for LGBT caregivers documented through findings from our 2019 national caregiving survey. The pandemic has only worsened preexisting health inequities within the LGBT caregiving community.</p> <h2>Who Are LGBT Caregivers?</h2> <p>Data from our survey indicates that LGBT caregivers are older (ages 59 and older) and more likely to be born in the United States. Although a half of LGBT caregivers indicated living with care receivers, they are less likely to be married. This is consistent with findings from a report released by SAGE, “<a href="https://www.sageusa.org/resource-posts/caregiving-in-the-lgbt-community/">Caregiving in the LGBT Community</a>,” which elaborates on the importance of family of choice for LGBT older adults.</p> <p>For reasons of historical discrimination, LGBT caregivers or older adults may be estranged from their biological family, and have to rely upon their peers for care. LGBT caregivers may be older adults themselves, facing their own challenges with aging. </p> <h2>Cultural Impacts on Caregiving</h2> <p>There are many obstacles that make it difficult for LGBT caregivers to effectively provide care for their loved ones. LGBT caregivers may not be formally recognized as caregivers by healthcare providers, leaving them out of critical discussions. More than a quarter of LGBT caregivers are not known to the healthcare professionals providing care to their loved ones, nor are they allowed in the room with care recipients.</p> <p>Almost half (44.6 percent) of LGBT caregivers reported being the only person available to provide care for their loved ones. Being the sole caregiver may correlate with negative financial consequences.</p> <h2>The Need for Accessible, Affordable, Culturally Competent Healthcare Services</h2> <p>It is crucial that policy makers and advocates push for more protective polices and the elimination of discriminatory policies that make it more difficult for LGBT caregivers to provide care. Our survey data revealed that about half (45.9 percent) of LGBT caregivers report worsened emotional health as a result of the difficulties in carrying out their caregiving responsibilities; and 18.9 percent of these caregivers experienced an increase in depressive symptoms.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>For many LGBT caregivers, COVID-19 has triggered traumatic memories of the earlier HIV/AIDS pandemic experience and loss.</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>LGBT caregivers also face physical strain, with a fifth of caregivers reporting worsening physical health. These burdens are exacerbated by the lack of formal and informal support. As with LGBT older adults,</p> <p>LGBT caregivers often avoid accessing services and care based on fears of discrimination. It is not surprising to find that LGBT caregivers have only used an average of 1.8 supportive services (respite, paid helper, etc.) in the past six months.</p> <p>“There is too much pressure. It is incredible that there is no care for the caregivers like me. The doctor couldn’t refer me to anything. I just left my job,” said one caregiver in a SAGE Bronx Focus Group.</p> <p>More than 1 in 5 (21 percent) LGBT caregivers reported zero family, friends or neighbors who assisted or supported them.</p> <h2>Implications of COVID-19</h2> <p>Although data about the experiences of LGBT caregivers and older adults during COVID-19 is limited, anecdotal evidence strongly indicates that the pandemic has only exacerbated pre-existing strains on LGBT caregivers. Many LGBT caregivers and the older adults for whom they care had already lived through and suffered tremendous losses as a result of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. </p> <p>For many such caregivers, COVID-19 has triggered traumatic memories of that earlier pandemic experience and loss. Unfortunately, rather than finding help to address this challenging reality, LGBT caregivers have been isolated from support. Even before the pandemic, our survey data revealed that almost 4 in 10 (37.7 percent) LGBT caregivers reported being more isolated due to caregiving.  </p> <p>During the pandemic, the health and well-being of LGBT caregivers and their loved ones likely has worsened due to exacerbation of preexisting barriers. Before the pandemic, more than half (63.2 percent) of LGBT caregivers reported some or a great deal of difficulty with healthcare tasks such as coordinating or arranging for care or services from doctors, nurses and social workers. Additionally, more than a third (43.5 percent) of LGBT caregivers reported some or a great deal of difficulty with other healthcare tasks such as taking medications or caring for wounds.</p> <p>It is important to note that the LGBT caregiver community is not homogeneous. The impact of COVID-19 has fallen harder on LGBT caregivers and older adults who are BIPOC (Black, indigenous, or people of color), in light of the fact that COVID cases and deaths have been concentrated disproportionately in Black and brown communities. In addition, anti-Asian hatred and violence has risen rapidly as a result of race-baiting in response to COVID-19, making the experiences of LGBT caregivers and older adults who are AAPI that much more difficult.</p> <h2>Best Practices to Support LGBT Caregivers</h2> <p>The following are some best practices from our <a href="https://www.diverseelders.org/caregiving/">cultural competency training curriculum</a> to better support LGBT caregivers:</p> <ul><li>Collect information on gender identity and sexual orientation data on intake and other forms to better understand the needs of caregivers and care recipients;  </li> <li>Encourage and support additional research on the experiences, needs and resiliencies of LGBT caregivers;</li> <li>Create welcoming, supportive and safe environments for LGBT caregivers and older adults;</li> <li>Respect and recognize the important roles that LGBT caregivers play and ensure that they are fully integrated into the care of their loved ones;</li> <li>Create and provide culturally competent resources that are designed to address the particular needs of LGBT caregivers and older adults; and</li> <li>Ensure that all organizations’ nondiscrimination policies include sexual orientation and gender identity, and that policies involving “family” include chosen families or families of choice.</li> </ul><hr /><p><em>Michael Adams is the CEO of SAGE. Ocean Le is program coordinator of the DEC. </em></p> <p>Download the DEC’s <a href="https://www.diverseelders.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/DEC-Toolkit-Final-R2.pdf"><strong>Resources for Providers: Meeting the Needs of Diverse Family Caregivers Toolkit</strong></a>. This toolkit offers topline information on what providers need to know, and key pieces from our comprehensive training curriculum, <a href="https://www.diverseelders.org/caregiving/#request">Caring For Those Who Care: Meeting the Needs of Diverse Family Caregivers</a>. Whether you have already attended one or more of our trainings, or this is your first time looking into what’s available to help you support diverse family caregivers, we think you’ll find these resources to be invaluable in building a more welcoming, supportive practice.</p> <p>Photo Caption: LGBT caregiver reaches out to care receiver.</p> <p>Credit: SAGE</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Media</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/338" hreflang="en">LGBT Caregivers</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-byline field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Byline</div> <div class="field__item"><p>By Michael Adams and Ocean Le</p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Issue</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/may-june-2021" hreflang="en">May-June 2021</a></div> </div> Tue, 18 May 2021 05:00:00 +0000 asa_admin 372 at http://generations.asaging.org Better Late: Love and Marriage after 65 http://generations.asaging.org/better-late-love-and-marriage-after-65 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Better Late: Love and Marriage after 65</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6" class="username">asa_admin</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 05/18/2021 - 07:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/ageism-culture" hreflang="en">Ageism &amp; Culture</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-channel field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Channel</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/generations-today" hreflang="en">Generations Today</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-text field--type-string-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Text</div> <div class="field__item">‘Alex and I defy the stereotypes and the odds.’</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-paragraphs field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Paragraphs</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p class="dropcaps">I pour myself into a cream-colored silk Nicole Miller sheath with a three-foot train that fits like a glove after six weeks of alterations. My youngest granddaughter Francesca looks up at me, her eyes gleaming. “You look beautiful Mimi!”</p> <p>Inside the church, she and her sister toss silk rose petals as I link arms with my daughter and son-in-law and process down the aisle.</p> <p>After 35 years as a twice-divorced single mother of two daughters with a CV full of professional accomplishments, I am not exactly the profile of your average bride.</p> <p>At 72, I treasure my independence and fiercely protect my writing time and my solitude. Yet my husband and I had the courage to commit to each other for better or for worse. Alex and I defy the stereotypes and the odds. Each informed by two early failed marriages, and years of living as single people, our marriage has not been an easy or quick evolution for either of us.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>‘As a younger woman I didn’t know myself well enough to make wise choices.’</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>No technology glitch or computer crash phases Alex. He calmly sets out to trouble shoot with the confidence that he can fix pretty much everything. I would no more know how to troubleshoot my iPhone than change the oil in my car. And I’m just about as interested. Which is to say, not at all. We could not be more opposite personalities.</p> <h2>The Backstory</h2> <p>We met one November night in 2012 when I was 64 and he was 60. I had just returned to Zydeco dancing after a long absence while I rehabilitated a frozen shoulder. When Alex approached, I had a dim memory of seeing him at other dances before my injury, because he wore a fedora and was tall and thus, noticeable.</p> <p>The band was thumping, the accordion singing its nasal but irresistible melody, the bass and drums booming out the rhythm, and the rubboard accenting the down beat. Dancers swarmed to the floor in droves.</p> <p>“May I have this dance?” Alex asked. I nodded. He took my hand and led me to the center of the wooden dance floor.</p> <p>When he took me in his arms and held me at just the right distance, I instantly felt reassured. He waited a few beats and then with his hand squarely on my back led me into a solid two-step. Dancers have a word for this, “frame.” We were in sync! It felt wonderful.</p> <p>“That was fun,” I said at the end of the song.</p> <p>“Care for another?”</p> <p>“Delighted,” I said.</p> <p>At the end of the next dance, a Cajun-style waltz, Alex kissed my hand and returned me to the table where I had been sitting.</p> <p>“May I call you some time?” he asked. I nodded. He handed me a business card.</p> <p>“Helping computers play nicely with people for 25 years,” I read at the bottom.</p> <p>A few days later, I received a LinkedIn message. Alex didn’t text, or phone or ask to friend me on Facebook. Instead he gave me a window into his work history, his network, his interests: Rotary International (he was a long-time member), The Commonwealth Club, City Arts and Lectures. In his message he asked if I’d read the latest book by Malcom Gladwell and if I subscribed to The New Yorker.</p> <p>After that, we became regular dance partners. Shortly before Christmas, he asked me out to dinner and a movie. We dated until September 2013, when Alex abruptly decided we should part. I didn’t understand why, but I accepted his assertion that he was unhappy, and we separated, eventually dating others.</p> <p>But we continued to dance together, and Alex kindly assisted me with thorny computer problems. Over the years we exchanged suggestions for books and kept up with each other’s news—the final illnesses of his parents, my retirement from corporate work.</p> <h2>The Rekindling</h2> <p>After four years apart, I had an iPhone crash and Alex came to my rescue. We began talking about the reasons for our breakup and concluded that it had been a dreadful mistake! In January of 2018 we again became a couple.</p> <p>“I guess we just weren’t ready in our early 60s,” I told him.</p> <p>As a younger woman I didn’t know myself well enough to make wise choices. If we had met in our 30s or 40s, Alex probably wouldn’t even have appeared on my radar. But I’ve lived long enough to appreciate the calm companionship I find with my husband.</p> <p>Should I be sad that it took us so long for us to find each other? Or that we almost lost each other during our interregnum? Or that we’ll never celebrate a golden anniversary?</p> <p>Not on your life.</p> <p>These days I focus on the miraculous synchronicity that—against all odds—brought us together again, and the shared interests and mutual respect that keep our partnership alive.</p> <hr /><p><em>Eleanor Vincent is a writer who lives in Northern California. She has published a <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Swimming-Maya-Mothers-Eleanor-Vincent/dp/0988439042/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&amp;qid=&amp;sr=">memoir</a>, poetry and essays and writes a monthly column on resilient aging for the Rossmoor News. Visit her <a href="https://www.eleanorvincent.com/">here</a>.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Media</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/337" hreflang="en">Older couple dance at wedding</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-byline field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Byline</div> <div class="field__item"><p><strong>First Person Singular</strong><br /> By Eleanor Vincent</p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Issue</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/may-june-2021" hreflang="en">May-June 2021</a></div> </div> Tue, 18 May 2021 05:00:00 +0000 asa_admin 371 at http://generations.asaging.org A Two-Eyed Seeing Approach to Addressing Dementia Inequities in Indigenous Populations http://generations.asaging.org/tackling-dementia-indigenous-populations <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">A Two-Eyed Seeing Approach to Addressing Dementia Inequities in Indigenous Populations</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6" class="username">asa_admin</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 05/18/2021 - 07:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/justice-equity" hreflang="en">Justice &amp; Equity</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/health-well-being" hreflang="en">Health &amp; Well-being</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/innovation-social-impact" hreflang="en">Innovation &amp; Social Impact</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-channel field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Channel</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/generations-today" hreflang="en">Generations Today</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-text field--type-string-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Text</div> <div class="field__item">Dementia incidence in the American Indian/Alaska Native population is 14.6 percent higher than in the white population.</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-paragraphs field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Paragraphs</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p class="dropcaps">The inequities facing Indigenous populations around the globe are well established. Health inequities stem not only from a mal-distribution of resources but also from systemic societal barriers such as racism, discrimination and structural violence. Researchers, the medical community and policy makers have known for decades that Indigenous people suffer disproportionally from chronic and infectious diseases. Yet, only modest and inconsistent efforts have been made to tackle these injustices.</p> <p>Alzheimer’s disease and dementia represent a relatively new category of disease inequity for Indigenous populations. As life expectancy has improved for Indigenous peoples, so, too, has the risk of developing dementia. Available data suggests that rates of dementia began increasing around 2006, and that the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26874595/">incidence in the American Indian/Alaska Native populations is 14.6 percent higher than in the White population</a>, plus prevalence in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6973818/">Canadian </a>and <a href="https://n.neurology.org/content/71/19/1470.short">Australian </a>Indigenous populations are three to five times the national averages, with a younger age of onset of up to 10 years.</p> <p>Like other chronic conditions in Indigenous populations, the increased risk for dementia is influenced by inequities rooted in the social determinants of health and the continuing impact of colonial policies and actions.</p> <h2>Understanding the Lived Experience of Dementia</h2> <p>My team’s research in the area of dementia in Indigenous populations was initiated more than 13 years ago in response to a request from Anishinaabe communities in Northern Ontario. Leadership in these communities recognized a sudden increase in older Indigenous adults developing signs of dementia and were dealing with a strain on an already overburdened health system. Discussions revealed a significant concern over the need for culturally appropriate approaches and training for dementia care for Indigenous older adults. In response, we developed a provincial study involving diverse Indigenous communities to investigate cultural understandings and perceptions of dementia.</p> <p>Our team uses a community-based, participatory research approach to partner with communities on health research that is important to them. The majority of our research is qualitative and ethnographic. Our goal is to understand the lived experience of dementia from an Indigenous perspective—a necessary step to move toward the creation of culturally appropriate tools and resources that are grounded in Indigenous knowledge.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>A two-eyed seeing approach places Indigenous knowledge on equal footing with Western knowledge.</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Clinical approaches and health education programs and materials developed for non-Indigenous populations have been found to be inappropriate and ineffective. To ensure Indigenous knowledge is prioritized in our analysis we draw on a ‘two-eyed seeing’ framework.</p> <p>Mi’kmaw Elder Albert Marshall explained that two-eyed seeing is a gift where we learn to see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing, and from the other eye with the strengths of Western knowledge and ways of knowing. An explicit two-eyed seeing approach addresses the power imbalance between the two knowledge systems, and places Indigenous knowledge on equal ground with Western knowledge.</p> <p>To operationalize this method in our research we work closely with community advisory groups, community-based researchers and Indigenous knowledge keepers to highlight cultural and contextual knowledge that can inform the development of appropriate interventions.</p> <p>Culture influences an individual’s understandings and behaviors around illness, including beliefs about illness causes, appropriate treatment, healthcare-seeking behaviors, decision-making models and appropriate models of care. Our research findings demonstrate an Indigenous-specific knowledge basis for dementia.</p> <p>Indigenous participants from diverse geographies and cultures articulate a framework for understanding dementia that is grounded in the Indigenous understanding of the circle of life. Behaviors that sometime accompany dementia such as memory problems, seeing and hearing things that others cannot, speaking out of turn or saying things that might be considered inappropriate, and difficulty with everyday tasks are consistent with Indigenous beliefs that aging is a process of coming full circle back to childhood. In this belief system it is expected that some older adults will have these outcomes.</p> <p>“It’s not looked at as a disease, you know. Some people go back that way, and this is how they are going back to the Creator,” said one research participant. “Keewayabinoocheeaway. That’s returning back to childhood.”</p> <h2>Coordinating Understandings Between Cultures</h2> <p>We found that biomedical discourse can be at odds with such Indigenous understandings; for example, what the medical community would characterize as hallucinations are described by Indigenous patients and their caregivers as visions with important teachings; terminology such as “second childhood” that is discouraged by mainstream organizations has literal meanings and is accepted in Indigenous cultures; talk of “memory loss” is less appropriate than saying “memories are buried”; and behaviors labeled “inappropriate” by medical and psychiatric fields are accepted on the “normal” spectrum by Indigenous cultures.</p> <p>Such differences between Western biomedical culture and Indigenous culture—essentially differences in core value systems—can result in fundamental incongruences in dementia knowledge.  Our two-eyed seeing approach resulted in the translation of these findings into culturally specific dementia educational materials and clinical tools for Indigenous populations in Canada.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>‘Talk of “memory loss” is less appropriate than saying “memories are buried.” ’</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Many Indigenous people caring for someone with dementia have little knowledge of dementia as an illness. They do not understand that it will progress, or how fast or what can be done to slow it down. The fact sheets use examples and experiences from other Indigenous people who have gone through a dementia diagnosis, have cared for someone with dementia, or have specialized knowledge (knowledge keepers) to provide information in a way that is consistent with their beliefs. </p> <p>Also we encourage non-Indigenous providers to use the fact sheets to help understand how their Indigenous patients are experiencing the illness. The outcome is improved health literacy specific to dementia and improved cultural safety during clinical encounters. These resources privilege Indigenous dementia knowledge and add biomedical teachings when they are not in conflict with Indigenous understandings (<a href="www.I-CAARE.ca">www.I-CAARE.ca</a>). </p> <p>Knowing and respecting the cultural framework for an illness is necessary for addressing disparities. Equitable access to care requires that patients feel culturally safe in the health environment and in their healthcare encounters. Providing education and care that does not respect Indigenous knowledge represents a structural barrier and reduces access to and quality of care.</p> <p>Conflicting knowledge systems also can result in racism, stereotyping, unconscious bias and discrimination. Recently, the Alzheimer’s Association released <a href="https://www.alz.org/media/documents/alzheimers-facts-and-figures.pdf">a report </a>that found “fewer than half of Black and Native Americans feel confident they have access to providers who understand their ethnic or racial background and experiences.”</p> <h2>Memory Keepers Medical Discovery Team</h2> <p>In 2017, our team moved its research program to Memory Keepers Medical Discovery Team (MK-MDT) at the University of Minnesota Medical School, on the Duluth Campus. Memory Keepers is one of four medical discovery teams at the University of Minnesota Medical School funded by the State of Minnesota legislature to help achieve the state's goals of improving patient and population health, lowering costs and improving healthcare experiences.</p> <p>We are funded by the National Institute of Health to expand our program of research on dementia to include Indigenous populations in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ontario. Our research partnerships are with the Red Lake Tribal Nation, the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and the Anishinaabe communities of Manitoulin Island in Ontario.</p> <p>Our research program "<a href="https://memorykeepersmdt.com/icare/">Indigenous Cultural Understandings of Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias: Research and Exchange</a>" [ICARE] will investigate cultural and contextual differences in the lived experience of dementia of Indigenous peoples living in distinct regions, affected by differing geographies, policies and economies in order to understand the adaptability and scalability of our findings.</p> <p>We have incorporated a new focus on dementia experiences at different stages of the care trajectory and inquiry into Indigenous-specific conceptions of quality of life. The research will result in an ethnographic dataset that can be analyzed to inform culturally safe dementia care for Indigenous people impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.</p> <hr /><p><em>Kristen M Jacklin, PhD, is director and professor, Memory Keepers Medical Discovery Team–Health Equity, in the Department of Family Medicine and Biobehavioral Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth Campus.                  </em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Media</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/344" hreflang="en">A Native American couple near their home in Monument Valley, Utah</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-byline field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Byline</div> <div class="field__item"><p>By Kristen M. Jacklin</p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Issue</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/may-june-2021" hreflang="en">May-June 2021</a></div> </div> Tue, 18 May 2021 05:00:00 +0000 asa_admin 384 at http://generations.asaging.org Fossil Fuel Pollution Leads to Death, Cognitive Decline and Alzheimer’s Disease http://generations.asaging.org/air-pollution-leads-death-alzheimers-disease <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Fossil Fuel Pollution Leads to Death, Cognitive Decline and Alzheimer’s Disease</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6" class="username">asa_admin</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 05/18/2021 - 07:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/health-well-being" hreflang="en">Health &amp; Well-being</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-channel field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Channel</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/generations-today" hreflang="en">Generations Today</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-text field--type-string-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Text</div> <div class="field__item">‘Several studies suggest that air pollution might lead to brain damage.’<br /> <br /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-paragraphs field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Paragraphs</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p class="dropcaps">Many in our society have been appropriately concerned about the burning of fossil fuels because of its impact on our environment in general and on global warming in particular. But the destruction of our planet isn’t the only problem with using fossil fuels; it also causes air pollution which leads to death, cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <h2>Fossil Fuel Pollution Kills More Than 8 Million People Each Year</h2> <p>A <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0013935121000487">new study</a> from researchers at Harvard University and colleagues in the United Kingdom, published in the journal Environmental Research, estimates that in 2018 pollution from fossil fuel emissions likely caused 18 percent of total global deaths, or more than 8 million people—a staggering number. Countries with the greatest estimated numbers of fossil fuel pollution deaths were China (3.9 million) and India (2.5 million). <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32640394/">Another study</a> in China found that there are 1,166 early deaths attributable from air pollution for every 100,000 people ages 75 and older.</p> <p>How do fossil fuel emissions cause death? As individuals breathe in the polluted air it causes a variety of lung and heart diseases, including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, asthma, heart disease and stroke. I’d love to say that the story ends there, but it doesn’t. In addition to damaging the lungs and heart, air pollution is related to an increased rate of cognitive impairment, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  </p> <h2>Air Pollution Is Associated With Cognitive Impairment, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease</h2> <p>Several studies suggest that air pollution might lead to brain damage. In <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/115/37/9193">one study</a>, researchers from China and the United States found that long-term exposure to air pollution was related to poor performance on verbal and math tests, particularly for older individuals and those with less education. <a href="https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/9/e022404">A study from England </a>examined 130,978 adults ages 50 to 79 years from 75 medical practices in greater London, finding that that from 2005 to 2013, 1.7 percent of this sample was diagnosed with dementia, with about a third due to Alzheimer’s disease, a third due to vascular dementia, and the remaining third not given a specific dementia diagnosis.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>‘Older adults living in areas with the highest annual concentration of air pollution had a higher risk of dementia.’</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Importantly, those older adults living in areas with the highest annual concentration of air pollution had a higher risk of dementia compared with those living in areas with lower concentrations of pollution. In addition, the correlation between pollution and Alzheimer’s disease was particularly robust.</p> <h2>Does Air Pollution Shrink Your Brain?</h2> <p>Researchers from the University of Southern California and Harvard Medical School looked at the effect of air pollution not only on cognition but also on <a href="https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/143/1/289/5628036">brain size</a>. They looked at data from 998 women ages 73 to 87 years and found that women who were exposed to higher concentrations of air pollution in the preceding three years showed both greater declines in learning a list of words as well as more brain atrophy (shrinkage). But what was particularly worrisome was that those areas that shrunk were the same areas as those that typically shrink from Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <p>This carefully conducted study controlled for multiple possible confounding factors including age, geographic region, race/ethnicity, education, income, smoking history, alcohol history, average physical activity, employment status, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, hormone therapy and MRI-measured cerebrovascular disease.</p> <h2>How Is Air Pollution Related to Impaired Cognition, Brain Shrinkage and Alzheimer’s Disease?</h2> <p>So how do fossil fuel emissions lead to cognitive impairment, brain atrophy and Alzheimer’s disease? The first thing to note is that correlation is not the same as causation. My favorite example on this point is that just because <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14738551/">German researchers</a> found a strong correlation between the decline in the number of storks in Germany and the decline in the German birth rate, does not prove that the lower numbers of births is caused by the lower number of storks. Thus, although air pollution is <em>correlated </em>with cognitive impairment, brain atrophy and Alzheimer’s disease, it may or may not <em>cause </em>them.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>The pollution particles may sit around forever as amyloid plaques and inflammatory cells build up around them.</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>There are, however, many possible mechanisms as to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32045727/">how air pollution might cause Alzheimer’s disease</a>. One possible—but unproven—mechanism is related to a relatively new theory about the normal function of amyloid protein in the brain. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical school have speculated that the normal function of the beta-amyloid protein is to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30314800/">help the brain fight off infections</a>. If this hypothesis is correct, the explanation may go like this: Some of the particulate matter in fossil fuel emission is just the right size to travel from the lungs, through the blood stream and into the brain. Once in the neural tissue, the brain’s defense mechanisms—including the amyloid system—spring into action trying to “kill” the “invading” particles of pollution.</p> <p>The particulate matter cannot be killed, and so the pollution particles sit around forever as amyloid plaques and inflammatory cells build up around them. The build-up of amyloid plaques and inflammatory cells leads directly to the formation of tau tangles and destruction of brain cells that is Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <h2>How to Reduce Air Pollution and Lower the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and Death?</h2> <p>The <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0013935121000487">researchers from Harvard</a><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0013935121000487"> and the United Kingdom</a> who found that fossil fuel emissions were related to more than 8 million deaths globally made a strong statement of how we can reduce air pollution and lower our risk of death. They note that their study is a “clear message to policymakers and stakeholders to further incentivize a shift to clean sources of energy.”</p> <p>In turn, I hope that policymakers and stakeholders read this article and are spurred to action. In addition, I hope that readers will elect local and national leaders in your towns, cities, states and countries who will advocate for clean energy.</p> <p>Lastly, we should all do what we can on our own to reduce fossil fuel emission. We can bike, walk, carpool and take public transportation. We can purchase local produce and other foods that don’t need to be trucked across the country and shipped around the world. And we can reuse and recycle materials to reduce manufacturing in factories. We can make a difference in our health—and the health of our planet.</p> <hr /><p><em>Andrew E. Budson, MD, is chief of Cognitive &amp; Behavioral Neurology at the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, professor of Neurology at Boston University, lecturer in neurology at Harvard Medical School, and associate director of the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. His book, “<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Steps-Managing-Your-Memory-dp-0190088672/dp/0190088672/">Seven Steps to Managing Your Memory</a>” explains how to distinguish Alzheimer’s from normal aging, what medications, vitamins, diets and exercise regimes can help, and the best strategies and memory aids to use. His latest book, “<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Steps-Managing-Alzheimers-Disease-Dementia/dp/0190098120/">Six Steps to Managing Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia: A Guide for Families</a>” teaches caregivers how they can manage all the problems that come with dementia—and still take care of themselves. </em></p> <p><em>Website:</em> <a href="https://www.andrewbudsonmd.com/">Andrew Budson, MD</a>; <em>Facebo</em>ok: <a href="https://m.facebook.com/AndrewBudsonMD/">Andrew Budson, MD</a>; <em>Twitter:</em> <a href="@budson">@abudson</a></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Media</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/343" hreflang="en">Air Pollution</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-byline field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Byline</div> <div class="field__item"><p>By Andrew E. Budson</p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Issue</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/may-june-2021" hreflang="en">May-June 2021</a></div> </div> Tue, 18 May 2021 05:00:00 +0000 asa_admin 383 at http://generations.asaging.org On the Edge of Eviction: Emergency Rental Assistance Is a Lifeline http://generations.asaging.org/emergency-rental-assistance-lifeline-elders <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">On the Edge of Eviction: Emergency Rental Assistance Is a Lifeline</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6" class="username">asa_admin</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Fri, 05/14/2021 - 20:56</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/economic-security" hreflang="en">Economic Security</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/ageism-culture" hreflang="en">Ageism &amp; Culture</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-channel field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Channel</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/generations-now" hreflang="en">Generations Now</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-text field--type-string-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Text</div> <div class="field__item">Almost 450,000 renters ages 55 to 64 report they will likely be evicted in the next two months.</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-paragraphs field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Paragraphs</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p class="dropcaps">The COVID-19 pandemic is turning a corner for many older adults. As of early May, almost <a href="https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccination-demographic">43 million</a> individuals ages 65 and older have been fully or partially vaccinated. As a population disproportionately at risk for contracting COVID and developing severe illness or dying, these vaccinations offer the chance for many older adults to reengage in life and see the family members and friends from whom they have been isolated for more than a year.</p> <p>A cause for celebration, indeed.</p> <p>But for some older adults, the pandemic’s dark clouds linger.</p> <p>More than 100,000 renters ages 65 and older and almost 450,000 ages 55 to 64 report they will likely be evicted in the next two months, according to the most recent <a href="https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2021/demo/hhp/hhp28.html">U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey</a> (April 14–26, 2021). More than 300,000 people ages 65 and older and 1 million ages 55 to 64 said they were behind on their rent.</p> <p>Many of these older renters had been temporarily protected from the possibility of losing their homes by a national moratorium from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) banning evictions through the end of June, 2021. On May 5, though, a federal judge threw out the ban, saying the CDC lacked the authority to impose it. The order has been placed on hold pending an anticipated appeal from the Department of Justice.</p> <p>Other moratoriums remain in place, including one for evictions and foreclosures in homes federally financed through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Also, more than 40 states have some form of eviction protection in place. Most are generally scheduled to expire in the near future.</p> <h4>Enduring Unemployment for Older Adults</h4> <p>A representative from one of the groups opposing the CDC’s moratorium <a href="https://www.reuters.com/world/us/federal-court-vacates-us-eviction-moratorium-2021-05-05/">said</a>, “with rental assistance secured, the economy strengthening and unemployment rates falling, there is no need to continue a blanket, nationwide eviction ban.”</p> <p>It is true that many businesses are easing back to normal and hiring is ticking upward.</p> <p>Even with these gains, though, the labor market is still down <a href="https://www.aging.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/SCA_Gould_4_29_21.pdf">8.4 million</a> jobs from the pre-pandemic level in February 2020. Workers ages 55 and older are short more than 2 million jobs. According to Elise Gould at the Economic Policy Institute, older workers were hit harder by the pandemic than they were by the Great Recession, with older women experiencing a particularly intense impact.  </p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>‘Workers ages 55 and older are short more than 2 million jobs.’</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>While the unemployment rate among workers ages 55 and older is improving overall, it takes a while for many to get back to work. In March 2020, <a href="https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/ppi/2021/04/march-2021-employment-data-digest.pdf">54 percent </a>of older job seekers were long-term unemployed, meaning they have been looking for work for 27 weeks or more. On average, workers ages 55 to 64 were unemployed for 38 weeks and those ages 65 and older for 37 weeks.</p> <p>Not surprisingly, the unemployment challenges are greater for older Black, Hispanic and Asian workers compared to older White workers.</p> <h4>Out-of-Reach Housing Costs</h4> <p>Even before the pandemic, many older adults struggled with the cost of housing. <a href="https://justiceinaging.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Older-Adults-Rental-Housing-Burdens.pdf?eType=EmailBlastContent&amp;eId=b5e4fc11-e79b-4ec9-b0d0-de9783fb26cd">More than half </a>of renters ages 62 and older are cost-burdened, meaning they pay more than 30 percent of their monthly income for housing costs. Almost a third pay more than 50 percent of their income. Black and Hispanic older renters experience disproportionately higher rates of cost burden.</p> <p>Many older adults who lost jobs during the pandemic were in lower-wage industries. It is not hard to imagine that these workers likely had difficulty staying on top of their rent if unemployed for even a short time, much less for months. Lower-wage workers are less likely to have savings that would have helped to carry them through this emergency.</p> <h4>Help With Housing Costs</h4> <p>The <a href="https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/hr133/BILLS-116hr133enr.pdf">Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021</a>, provided $25 billion for emergency rental assistance and the <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1319/text">American Rescue Plan Act of 2021</a> provided another $21.5 billion. States and local governments can use these funds to assist eligible households struggling with rent, including rental arrears, and utility costs.</p> <p>These funds will be a crucial lifeline for many older renters who are at-risk for losing their home. Even if the CDC’s eviction mortarium is upheld, it, along with other moratoriums, will expire soon. Once the bans end, tenants will still be responsible for all back rent and related late fees. One <a href="https://www.ncsha.org/wp-content/uploads/Analysis-of-Current-and-Expected-Rental-Shortfall-and-Potential-Evictions-in-the-US_Stout_FINAL.pdf">analysis </a>estimated that by January 2021, households would owe up to $34 billion in missed rent. For many, the bans have likely just forestalled the inevitable.  </p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--quote paragraph--view-mode--default"> <blockquote> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Aging services providers need to make sure struggling older adults are aware of the emergency rental assistance programs and help them (or their landlords) to apply.</p> </div> <footer class="blockquote-footer mt-2"> <cite title=""> </cite> </footer> </blockquote> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Addressing rental debt is equally important for landlords. Small, unsubsidized multifamily buildings make up half of all rental stock and are an <a href="https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/103822/preserving-small-rental-buildings-during-the-covid-19-crisis_0.pdf">important source</a> of moderately priced housing. Loss of these properties when owners, many of whom are individual <a href="https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/103822/preserving-small-rental-buildings-during-the-covid-19-crisis_0.pdf">“mom and pop” investors</a>, are unable to make mortgage payments for the building would further decrease the already inadequate supply of low- and modest-cost rental units.</p> <p>It is vital that aging services providers help ensure that older adults who are struggling with their housing costs due to the pandemic are aware of the emergency rental assistance programs and help them to apply, where needed. Find out about available local programs <a href="https://nlihc.org/era-dashboard">here</a>. It is equally imperative that states and local governments scale their programs and process applications as quickly as possible.</p> <p>The impacts of evictions are too significant to do otherwise.</p> <hr /><p><em>Alisha Sanders, M.P.Aff., is senior director of Housing and Services Research at LeadingAge, in Washington, DC. Sanders guest-edited the <a href="https://generations.asaging.org/summer-2020">Summer 2020 issue of Generations Journal</a>.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Media</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/354" hreflang="en">An evicted home with belongs piled on the curb</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-byline field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Byline</div> <div class="field__item"><p>By Alisha Sanders</p> </div> </div> Fri, 14 May 2021 18:56:09 +0000 asa_admin 391 at http://generations.asaging.org Nutrition Programs Fuel the Health and Well-being of Older Americans http://generations.asaging.org/nutrition-programs-fuel-well-being-elders <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Nutrition Programs Fuel the Health and Well-being of Older Americans</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6" class="username">asa_admin</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Fri, 05/14/2021 - 19:55</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/ageism-culture" hreflang="en">Ageism &amp; Culture</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/health-well-being" hreflang="en">Health &amp; Well-being</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-channel field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Channel</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/generations-now" hreflang="en">Generations Now</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-text field--type-string-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Text</div> <div class="field__item">The USDA has adopted a range of actions to strengthen and improve the reach of the federal nutrition programs during COVID-19.</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-paragraphs field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Paragraphs</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p class="dropcaps">May is <a href="https://acl.gov/oam/2021/older-americans-month-2021">Older Americans Month</a> and this year’s theme is Communities of Strength. One way ASA members can help build strength in their communities is by redoubling efforts to address the unprecedented rates of food hardship among older adults fueled by the COVID-19 health and economic crisis.</p> <p>Ensuring older adults have access to nutritious food is always paramount but has become even more so during COVID-19, which has increased risk for older adult <a href="https://www.defeatmalnutrition.today/sites/default/files/National_Blueprint_MAY2020_Update_OnlinePDF_FINAL.pdf">malnutrition</a>. In the past seven days, some 2 million older adults ages 65 and older reported that their household sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat, according to <a href="https://www.census.gov/data/experimental-data-products/household-pulse-survey.html">Household Pulse Survey</a> data collected from March 17–29, 2021. That’s 4.3 percent of older adults in the United States.</p> <p>Longstanding racism and discrimination continue to exacerbate who is hungry in America. Inequities are displayed in hunger rates that are higher for Black, Latinx, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander older adults.</p> <p><strong>Hunger is a health issue.</strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><img alt="Seniors struggling with food insecurity may experience a number of challenges" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="0e76ee1f-d4c6-441a-8f3a-9862ca5f8deb" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Abbott%20Image%20for%20May%20_1.png" class="align-center" /><p> </p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Food insecurity has serious consequences for the health and well-being of older adults and their families. But beyond those consequences, food insecurity also has costly implications for the healthcare system. The attendant harms of food insecurity as well as diet-related chronic disease have propelled the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to adopt a range of actions to strengthen and improve the reach of the federal nutrition programs during COVID-19.</p> <h4>SNAP: A Highly Effective Tool for Addressing Hunger Among Older Adults</h4> <p>Fortunately, solutions exist to support nutrition for older adults, including increased use of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). By providing monthly benefits to eligible low-income people to purchase food, SNAP plays a critical role in reducing hunger, malnutrition and poverty.  SNAP can reach any eligible older adult with a benefit that is 100 percent federally funded.</p> <p>While SNAP is available to individuals of all ages, the program is well-suited to benefit older adults:</p> <ul><li>SNAP protects older adult health and helps maintain independence.</li> <li>SNAP can be used at tens of thousands of locations across the nation where older adults would normally purchase their food.</li> <li>SNAP boosts the income of older adults.</li> </ul></div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h4>Take Three Actions this Month to Address Hunger Among Older Adults</h4> <ol><li><strong>Spread the word about the importance of SNAP and other nutrition programs for older adults:</strong> The USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) administer a number of federally funded nutrition programs that support the <a href="https://frac.org/wp-content/uploads/hunger-is-a-health-issue-for-older-adults-1.pdf">food and nutritional needs</a> of older adults who are low-income. USDA programs include SNAP, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program and the Child and Adult Care Food Program. HHS programs include the Home-Delivered and the Congregate Meal programs. Use this Food Research &amp; Action Center (FRAC) older adult nutrition program <a href="https://frac.org/wp-content/uploads/Older-Adults-Benefit-From-Federal-Nutrition-Programs.pdf">fact sheet</a> to spread the word.</li> <li><strong>Lift up how older adults all over the country benefit from SNAP: </strong>SNAP is the only nutrition program available to all eligible older adults in every part of the country. Nationally, in <a href="https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/characteristics-snap-households-fy-2019">fiscal year 2019</a>, SNAP reached on average each month 5.3 million low-income households with individuals ages 60 or older (according to the most recent data available), and this number has grown during COVID-19. In every county of our nation, whether metropolitan, small town or rural counties, SNAP matters to older adults.</li> </ol></div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><img alt="Percent of all households with seniors participating in SNAP" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="d0b5e9b4-8d35-4455-8f91-63ea9e182b9a" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Abbott%20for%20May%20Image%20_2.png" class="align-center" /><p> </p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Use this <a href="https://frac.org/maps/snap-county-seniors/snap-county-seniors.html">FRAC tool</a>, supported by the AARP Foundation, to see how many older adult households in each county benefit from SNAP.</p> <ol><li><strong>Connect more older adults to SNAP by sharing information on how SNAP is responding to help older adults during COVID-19: </strong>Even though SNAP helps millions of older adults improve their nutrition, health and well-being, millions more are eligible and not participating. In Fiscal Year 2018, SNAP only reached 48 percent of eligible older adults. Older adults have shared that they do not participate in SNAP in part because of the perception that they will only get the minimum benefit of $16 per month, or that the application process is too complicated. Now is an opportune time to connect older adults to SNAP, in part because the amount of SNAP benefits a person receives has been increased and the application and re-certification process has been streamlined in response to the COVID-19 hunger crisis. Learn more about <a href="https://frac.org/programs/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap">SNAP policy changes</a>.</li> </ol><p>Pledging to increase access to and strengthen SNAP and other nutrition programs is an important way to improve the nutrition, health and well-being of older adults, and also to strengthen our communities and recognize <a href="https://acl.gov/oam/2021/older-americans-month-2021">Older Americans Month</a>.</p> <p>For more on addressing hunger, sign up for the <a href="https://urldefense.com/v3/__https:/p2a.co/tScbQGr__;!!BBM_p3AAtQ!fxd5Gpm41LTXJCYtX2YCAM15dADTRbevrMN9ZT_4qyZ4_hZ4hBkcRcYj_uJzFLU7FjEA$">FRAC Action Network</a>. </p> <hr /><p><em>Alexandra Ashbrook is director, Special Projects &amp; Initiatives at the Food Research &amp; Action Center in Washington, DC.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Media</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/355" hreflang="en">Older woman eating with her family</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-byline field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Byline</div> <div class="field__item"><p><strong>From Our Sponsors</strong><br /> By Alexandra Ashbrook</p> </div> </div> Fri, 14 May 2021 17:55:56 +0000 asa_admin 387 at http://generations.asaging.org UsAgainstAlzheimer’s New BrainGuide Fosters Action on Brain Health http://generations.asaging.org/usagainstalzheimers-new-brainguide <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">UsAgainstAlzheimer’s New BrainGuide Fosters Action on Brain Health </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6" class="username">asa_admin</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 05/13/2021 - 00:07</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/health-well-being" hreflang="en">Health &amp; Well-being</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-channel field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Channel</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/generations-now" hreflang="en">Generations Now</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-text field--type-string-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Text</div> <div class="field__item">Research shows up to 40 percent of dementia cases could be prevented or delayed by targeting 12 key risk factors.</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-paragraphs field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Paragraphs</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p class="dropcaps">In early May, ASA member UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, a DC-based nonprofit founded in 2010 to “disrupt and diversify the movement to cure Alzheimer’s,” launched a new tool called <a href="http://www.mybrainguide.org/">BrainGuide</a>, geared toward any adult worried about memory issues, caregivers concerned with the cognitive abilities of older adults for whom they care or anyone curious about brain health and how to preserve it.</p> <p>Recent <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200730123651.htm">research </a>shows that up to 40 percent of dementia cases could be prevented or delayed by targeting 12 key risk factors throughout life. The BrainGuide can help people to discover those risk factors and find out how to prevent them from contributing to dementia. Also, for now the only available interventions for Alzheimer’s are effective early on in the disease progression, so early detection is key.</p> <p>BrainGuide is a platform with resources that allow people to take the best next steps to manage their own or another’s brain health. One can quickly, via an online or phone memory questionnaire (in English and Spanish), figure out whether there is an existing issue with memory problems. The test requires remembering a list of words, filling in missing letters in words and performing basic math problems.</p> <p>Although the questionnaire is not meant to diagnose cognitive impairment or make treatment recommendations, it is a rapid assessment of whether one may need help. Resources provided are tailored toward how one answers the questionnaire.</p> <p>The platform is a great way to involve healthcare providers, too, by giving patients the confidence to request further testing. And BrainGuide’s resources may pique interest in joining a medical trial on the disease as well.</p> <p>There are countless ways in which many people measure and track their body’s health and their diet on a regular, often daily basis. Now with BrainGuide, for the first time they can also track brain health, too.</p> <p>What is the aging network’s role in promoting brain health and increasing awareness of dementia prevention? On June 10 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET join ASA in a Members Only Event where UsAgainstAlzheimer’s will showcase this new BrainGuide, and ask members for ideas about the role that the aging network might play. Hosted in ASA Communities, this interactive program will allow ASA members to learn all about this new platform and how to use it, provide feedback on the platform, and discuss ways BrainGuide and other dementia prevention resources could be disseminated through aging network channels. Members, look for details about the event and how to attend in <a href="https://asaging.connectedcommunity.org/home">ASA Communities</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-teaser-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Teaser Media</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/356" hreflang="en">African American couple happy/hugging</a></div> </div> Wed, 12 May 2021 22:07:02 +0000 asa_admin 389 at http://generations.asaging.org