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May 25th, 2016

zero weeks

“Permiso Familiar Pagado. Es el momento”

Luego del nacimiento de su primer hijo, la galardonada cineasta Ky Dickens, enfrentó una grave situación económica y la culpa de no poder garantizarle los cuidados iniciales a su bebé al no contar con un permiso post natal pagado. Esta realidad, la motivó a evidenciar la falta de beneficios laborales en EE.UU., específicamente la ausencia de pago durante el disfrute de vacaciones o permisos médicos.

“Estamos haciendo que nuestro pueblo tengan que decidir entre la necesidad de su trabajo y el amor a su familia. Ninguna nación del planeta se debate entre estas opciones” Esta declaración fue hecha por el secretario del trabajo estadounidense, Thomas Pérez, en el marco de la introducción de “Zero Weeks” http://www.zeroweeks.com/about-the-film.html

“Zero Weeks” es el cuarto documental de Ky Dickens, que actualmente se encuentra en proceso de preproducción y que cuenta con el testimonio de reconocidos expertos en materia de salud pública, tal es el caso de la Dra. Yanira Cruz, quien lidera el compromiso de trabajo que adelanta el Consejo Nacional Hispano para las Personas Adultas Mayores, NHCOA por sus siglas en inglés.

Durante la grabación de su entrevista para el documental, la Dra. Cruz resaltó que según cifras de la Asociación Nacional para la Defensa de la Mujer y la Familia, solo 13% de los trabajadores en Estados Unidos se benefician con permisos pagos para atender a su familia, y menos de 40% tiene acceso a licencias médicas, a través, de un seguro de incapacidad de corto plazo.

“Las políticas públicas de nuestra nación no están cumpliendo con las necesidades de los trabajadores y mucho menos de sus familias. La Ley Federal para el permiso Médico y Familiar no pagado, FMLA por sus siglas en inglés, atiende menos del 50% de la población y para mucho de ellos, es un verdadero lujo utilizarla” aseguró.

Para NHCOA, la atención y cuidados para el adulto mayor debe ser una prioridad de Estado. Cuatro de cada 10 hispanos se han visto obligados a reducir sus jornadas laborales o en el peor de los casos, abandonar sus empleos para atender emergencias en su núcleo familiar.

La Dra. Yanira Cruz, fue enérgica al asegurar para “Zero Weeks” que la implementación del pago por permisos de salud o vacaciones es otra manera de dignificar los años dorados de nuestros adultos mayores. “Sin duda, garantizaría la seguridad y bienestar de todo el núcleo familiar, en especial quienes trabajan a tiempo completo (…) Permitiría a los padres, ser cada vez mejores para sus hijos, y a los hijos, acompañar con amor y dedicación los últimos años de sus padres.”

EE.UU., es uno de los únicos dos países en el mundo que no cuenta con permisos remunerados para salud o vacaciones. Solo 11% del sector público y 17% del sector privado tienen acceso. 25% de madres primerizas debe regresar a su puesto de trabajo en un máximo de 10 días. Sin este tipo de permisos pagados, 40% de las mujeres de este país son más propensas a depender de cupones de alimentación y ayuda estatal.



May 3rd, 2016

Impact of Autonomous Cars- 70.33% in favor if proven affordable, safe and available (2)

By Dr. Yanira Cruz, NHCOA President & CEO

This past Monday, May 2nd, I was fortunate to be a part of the Virginia Governor’s Conference on Aging that was held in Richmond Virginia. Simply said, our world is aging. The number of people today aged 60 and over has double since 1980. Every seven seconds today, and for the next 20 years, someone in America will turn 60. Furthermore, within the next few years, the number of adults aged 65 and over will outnumber children under the age of five. In about 10 years for the first time in human history, there will be more older adults in the world than younger populations. For this and many other reasons, I am passionate about the work we do at the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA).  I believe it is important for all Americans to age in dignity.

A couple of key facts influence our aging society and the ability of older adults to age in dignity are:

  • There is a growing diversity in our society. We come from various ethnic backgrounds and cultures. In addition, our literacy levels vary from zip code to zip code, among different age groups, and across income status.
  • New trends are emerging. These trends include: hunger among seniors is on the rise; older adults are living longer and want to continue to have meaningful lives; the gap between the haves and haves nots is growing; and many families do not have the necessary resources to provide caregiving to their loved ones.
  • Many family members become caregivers. In the Hispanic community many family members become caregivers to someone in their family. For me, this is a topic that hits close to home, because I was the caregiver for my mother when she was diagnosed with aggressive gallbladder cancer. Caring for a person during an illness is not an easy task; in fact, it is extremely difficult. Among the tasks that fall to caregivers are: transportation to appointments, keeping track of medications, providing or arranging for spiritual support, taking care of meals and making sure they are eaten, coordinating health services delivered at home, and in many cases like my own, having a full-time job and being a mother.

I am a pretty educated consumer who knows what resources are available for caregivers and who understands how to navigate the system. With that being said, it was extremely difficult to carry out my caregiving activities by myself. The valuable support I received from my family members helped me in this difficult situation. I tell my story because I cannot even start to imagine how difficult it must be for someone who does not have family support, knowledge and information about what resources to use. Many of the people we serve at NHCOA are part of this group – isolated, with limited understanding on how to navigate the system and often left out from programs to which they should have access.

Some of the positive factors for caregivers among Latino families are: a strong family support system; a culture that promotes caring for those who have cared for us; and a younger population that can take part in a workforce of caregivers in an aging society. There are also some factors that are getting in the way of caregivers in the Hispanic community.  These include a lack of information about services and resources available to support caregivers; limited programs targeting caregivers in the Latino community; little awareness and understanding about caregiving issues impacting Latino communities; and limited resources available for a targeted caregiving effort.

NHCOA is committed to serving all older adults, but it places a strong emphasis in using its capacity in reaching and serving hard-to-reach Hispanic older adults, which are underserved by service programs for which they are eligible.

Join our efforts to ensure that older adults can age in dignity and access the necessary service programs!

We believe strongly in paid sick leave!



April 25th, 2016

Impact of Autonomous Cars- 70.33% in favor if proven affordable, safe and available (3)

 

Last week, the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) pilot tested its new wellness program “Move, Exercise and Nourish” in Washington, DC. The event was held on April 13 and 14 at NHCOA’s housing facility Casa Iris and was sponsored by Herbalife and Lauriol Plaza.

During the event, older adults from Casa Iris and the community, as well as caregivers and families, learned about the importance of exercising and physical activities, nutri
tion, and general wellbeing for their health.

“This is an excellent wellness program to help older adults maintain good health every day,” said Dr. Yanira Cruz, NHCOA President and CEO. “Our health is indeed the greatest asset we have; therefore, we must treasure it and protect it.”

The first day of tIMAG1976he training consisted of exercises and physical activities. The participants learned about the importance of including physical activities in their routine and how much exercise they need on a daily basis. At the end of the day, participants had the opportunity to practice some of the exercises that were taught during the training. The second day was focused on nutrition and wellbeing. The participants learned about how to eat healthier, taking into consideration the cultural values and traditional foods, of the Hispanic community. Also, they learned about the importance of sleeping and steps they can take to sleep longer and comfortably. Lastly, participants engaged in a discussion about sexual health. The topics discussed during the two day training were reinforced with a bingo game at the end of the training.

IMAG2124During the event, NHCOA announced a new partnership with Herbalife. As a result of this new partnership, Herbalife will provide shakes, meal replacement bars, and protein bars for the residents of Casa Iris.

“Proper nutrition is essential if we want health and good quality of life. However, this can be challenging throughout every stage of life. For older adults, good nutrition is particularly important as a lack of healthy food can trigger or complicate health conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease,” said Angela Arboleda, Herbalife’s Vice President for Government and Community Affairs. “Herbalife is proud to partner with organizations like NHCOA to ensure as many people as possible have access to nutritious food and resources to lead healthy, active lifestyles.”

Other officials parIMAG2079ticipating in the event included Jackie Reyes, Director of the Office on Latino Affairs; Claudia Barahona, Constituent Services, Director for Councilmember Brianne Nadeau of Ward One; Sonia Umanzor, Minister Counsellor of Community Affairs for the Embassy of El Salvador in Washington, D.C.; Rhonda Ricks from UnitedHealthcare; and Jackie Geralnick, Public Health Nutritionist from the Office on Aging.

It was an exciting two day event during which participants had the opportunity to learn how to attain a healthy lifestyle. In addition, participants had the opportunity to enjoy a demonstration on how to make Herbalife shakes and to sample them.

 

 



March 21st, 2016

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NHCOA is excited about its participation in the Annual Conference of the American Society on Aging to take place this week in Washington, D.C.  This year, the Conference is working to incorporate a focus on diverse aging populations across the U.S.  This effort is critically important as America’s diverse elders continue to grow as a percentage of the U.S. aging population.  Hispanic elders are the fastest growing aging population in the nation, expected to grow by about 150% by 2050.

Diverse elders need programs and services designed to take into account their needs, which may include cultural and linguistic differences.  Key to this idea is provision of outreach and services that are culturally competent.  Cultural competence is the willingness and ability of an individual or a system to recognize and respect the culture of the person for whom a service is being performed. It also involves the development of a point of view that values differences and is responsive to diversity. Cultural competence goes beyond bilingualism to the way one expresses oneself and how one understands the mores and nuances of other cultures.  For example, there are at least seven different words for a drinking straw in Spanish.  These words are national or regional in origin and knowing which word to use with whom depending on their country of origin is a measure of cultural competency.

Hispanic seniors are known for being hard to reach and serve.  This is because they not only have cultural and linguistic gaps from the larger U.S. culture, but that, depending on their countries of origin and level of acculturation, they are a diverse population within themselves.  It takes a person and a system dedicated to cultural competency to reach and serve them successfully.  The best way to incorporate this level of cultural competency into the system is to incorporate people and organizations that are from the local communities and know the cultures and linguistic nuance in these communities.

An older adult described the experience of trying to communicate with someone who was not culturally competent, “Communicating with someone who doesn’t really understand me or who does not  know where I am coming from when I have a question is very difficult.  It’s even more difficult when I try to find programs to meet my basic needs of food, housing, and health and I cannot find them.  Things are too difficult to find and sometimes I even have to go to bed hungry.”

NHCOA recommends that all programs and services targeting Hispanic older adults are dedicated to a high standard of cultural competency.  We are excited to bring this message to the American Society on Aging this week.



March 21st, 2016

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The American Society on Aging (ASA) conference is a major event in the aging field and NHCOA is pleased to be presenting during the conference.  The conference will open Sunday, March 20 and will continue until Thursday, March 24  in  Washington, D.C. at the Marriott Park and Omni Shoreham Hotels. Over these five days, people from across the U.S. and abroad will get together to engage and explore issues that are affecting our adult population.  Dr. Yanira Cruz, President and CEO of the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), the leading national organization working to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families and their caregivers, has been invited to participate in this important event.  “I am honored to participate in this conference,” stated Dr. Cruz, “not only to share my knowledge, but also to engage and learn about what is being done in the aging community.”

On Monday, March 21st, Dr. Cruz will participate in the 2016 Panel of Pundits. This panel will be focused on the Presidential Campaigns and how they affect older adults nationwide.  During this panel Dr. Cruz and other aging experts will weigh in on the Presidential and other national campaigns across the country and their impact on the nation’s older adults.  Issues to be addressed during this panel will include how the outcome will affect the Affordable Care Act and the Older Americans Act, among others.

In addition, on Thursday morning, March  22, Dr. Cruz will participate in  the “Getting in the Game: Diverse Elders and Civic Engagement” symposium, joining representatives from Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), the National Indian Council on Aging, the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center and the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA).  The symposium will focus on the increasing diversity among the nation’s seniors in terms of race, ethnicity and sexual orientation and the disparities and challenges these groups face.  Presenters at the symposium will talk about specific challenges facing diverse groups and best practices to engage these communities. ‘

We invite you to join us for these exciting and important conversations to learn not only about the issues affecting Hispanic older adults, but also the older adult population in general.  We hope to see you there!

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March 15th, 2016

Blog Spanish Driverless Car

La tecnología juega un papel importante en nuestras vidas con nuevos inventos e innovaciones  creados diariamente. Una de las nuevas innovaciones en el campo de la tecnología que podrá estar en el mercado próximamente son los autos que se manejan solos, mejor conocidos como autos autónomos. ¿Qué son los autos autónomos? Como el nombre sugiere, autos autónomos son autos controlados por tecnología y no son manejados o controlados por una persona.

Los autos autónomos, o AVs como son llamados, pueden tener un gran impacto en los adultos mayores, quienes representan un gran y creciente segmento de nuestra población.   Para el 2050, se espera que los 46 millones de adultos mayores se duplique a 90 millones.Hispanics Believe that Autonomous Cars are Promising Technology for Seniors and Disabled Más aún, los adultos mayores hispanos, quienes actualmente representan 7% de la población de adultos mayores en los EE.UU., representarán uno de cada cinco adultos mayores para en el 2050.  De hecho, mientras la población de adultos mayores caucásica está proyectada a aumentar un 50% para el año 2030, el segmento de mayor crecimiento de la población de adultos mayores en ese marco de tiempo serán hispanos, ¡quienes crecerán en un asombroso 153%!

Dado el impacto desproporcionado que los AVs podrían tener en los adultos mayores, el Consejo Nacional Hispano de Personas Mayores (NHCOA, por sus siglas en inglés) implementó recientemente una encuesta para investigar el conocimiento y las opiniones de los hispanos adultos mayores, sus cuidadores  y sus familias en relación con los autos autónomos. Además de medir el conocimiento sobre los autos autónomos, en la encuesta se hicieron preguntas acerca de la seguridad y como estos autos impactarían la vida de los participantes. La mayoría de los participantes identificó California, Florida, Texas, Maryland o Virginia como su estado de residencia.

La mayoría de los participantes en la encuesta dijeron conocer o haber escuchado sobre los autos autónomos. Algunos expresaron sus preocupaciones por la seguridad de los autos, mientras que otros dijeron que los autos autónomos podrían mejorar su vida o la vida de otros en sus familias. Por ejemplo, uno de los participantes dijo, “Los autos autónomos representan una oportunidad para que los adultos mayores y las personas con movilidad limitada puedan mejorar sus vidas y obtener independencia.”Hispanics Believe that Autonomous Cars are Promising Technology for Seniors and Disabled (1)

De los participantes en la encuesta, 72.53% indicó que vivían en áreas que tienen transporte público accesible, con sólo el 27.47% no teniendo acceso a transporte público. Más de la mitad de los participantes o 53.85% dijeron que pensaban que estaban en mayor riesgo de estar involucrados en accidentes de autos.

Sin embargo, cuando se les preguntó “Si los autos autónomos fueran accesibles, seguros y disponibles, estos mejorarían la calidad de vida”, 70.33% respondieron que sí y sólo 29.67% respondieron que no. Por otra parte, cuando se le preguntó si se podría mejorar la calidad de vida de algún familiar, 67.03% respondió que sí, en referencia a sus beneficios para el cónyuge, padres, hijos y, para todos. Uno de los participantes expresó su preocupación por lo costoso que imagina que el auto autónomo será: “Cuando salgan, van a ser tan caro que no podremos soñar con ellos.”

Los hispanos tienen sentimientos encontrados acerca de los autos autónomos. Mientras que el pensamiento de que esto puede ser un avance tecnológico que podría mejorar sus vidas o las de sus familiares u otras personas, conservan las preocupaciones sobre la seguridad y el costo. Dando  tranquilidad sobre la seguridad y un rango de precio moderado, hay una gran oportunidad para el éxito del auto autónomo en el mercado hispano.

Con nueva tecnología e inventos, hay nuevas posibilidades. Los autos que se manejan solos o autos autónomos podrían impactar positivamente en un gran número de personas. Los adultos mayores hispanos en particular, a pesar de las preocupaciones que puedan tener en este momento, son de mente abierta a las posibilidades que pueden traer los autos que se manejan solos. Tendremos que esperar y ver lo que trae el futuro, pero es posible que está más cerca de lo que pensamos.

 

 



March 15th, 2016

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Technology is a major part of our lives with new inventions and innovations every day.  One of the newest innovations that may soon be on the market are self-driving or autonomous cars.  What are autonomous cars? As the name suggests, they are cars that are controlled by technology and are not driven or controlled by a person.Autonomous cars, or AVs as they are called, can be particularly impactful for seniors, who represent a large and rapidly growing segment of our population. Today’s 46 million seniors are expected to double in number to approximately 90 million by 2050.

Autonomous cars, or AVs as they are called, can be particularly impactful for seniors, who represent a large and rapidly growing segment of our population. Today’s 46 million seniors are expected to double in number to approximately 90 million by 2050. Hispanics Believe that Autonomous Cars are Promising Technology for Seniors and Disabled (1) Hispanic seniors, who currently represent 7% of the U.S. older adult population, will make up about one in five of the nation’s older adults by 2050. In fact, while the Caucasian senior population is expected to increase by 50% by 2030, the fastest-growing segment of the senior population in that time frame will be Hispanics, which will grow by an astounding 153%!

Given the disproportionate impact that AVs could have on Hispanic older adults, the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) recently implemented a survey to investigate the knowledge and opinions of Hispanic older adults, their caregivers and their families in relation to autonomous cars.  In addition to measuring knowledge about autonomous cars, the survey asked questions about safety and how such cars would impact participants’ lives. The majority of survey participants identified California, Florida, Texas, Maryland or Virginia as their state of residency.

Most survey participants reported knowing about, or having heard of, autonomous cars.  Some expressed concerns about the cars’ safety, while others said that autonomous cars could improve their lives or the lives of others.   For example, one of the participants said, “Autonomous cars represent an opportunity for older adults and people with limited mobility to improve their lives and gain independence.”

Hispanics Believe that Autonomous Cars are Promising Technology for Seniors and DisabledOf the participants, 72.53% indicated that they lived in areas that are mass transit accessible, with only 27.47% not having access to mass transit.  More than half of those who participated in the survey or 53.85% said that they thought that they were at higher risk of being involved in car accidents.

Yet, when asked “If autonomous cars were affordable, safe and available, would they improve the quality of life,” 70.33% responded yes and only 29.67 responded no. Furthermore, when asked if it would improve the quality of life of someone in their family, 67.03% answered yes, referring to benefits to their spouse, parents, children and, everyone.   One of the participants expressed his/her concern for how costly they imagine autonomous cars will be, “When they come out, they are going to be so expensive that we cannot dream of them.”

Hispanics have mixed feelings about autonomous cars.  While thinking that this can be a technological advancement that could improve their lives, or those of their family members or others, they retain concerns about safety and price.   Given reassurance about safety and a moderate price range, there is a great opportunity for the success of autonomous cars in the Hispanic market.

With new technology and inventions, there are new possibilities. Driverless or autonomous cars could impact positively a great number of people. Hispanic seniors in particular, despite concerns they may have at this point, are open-minded to the possibilities that driverless cars may bring. We will have to wait and see what the future brings, but it is possible that it’s closer than we think.



March 10th, 2016

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National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

 

Women and girls are often an overlooked population in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  Yet, about one-quarter of Americans living with HIV are women and girls.  Tragically, many of these women and girls are youth or older adults.  Today, about 26% of new HIV diagnoses are youth aged 13-24 and about 25% of those living with HIV are adults aged 55 and older.

The importance in preventing HIV among women and girls is recognized each year on March 10 through the National Women and Girls HIV Awareness Day.  It is important for the health and happiness of women and girls nationwide that they are empowered to make decisions that will protect them from HIV/AIDS, including abstinence, protection and testing.

Diverse women and girls and older women often do not know that they are vulnerable to infection with HIV.  These populations especially need to be informed about HIV and the steps to take to protect oneself from infection.

Cristina, Nina for short, for example was an independent teenager with a mind of her own.  She wanted to be free and so rebelled against her parents and did whatever she wanted.  Only her grandmother could get her to listen, although Nina did not always take her Grandmother’s advice seriously.  She thought her Grandmother was old fashioned.  Her Grandmother was worried about Nina, so she talked to her repeatedly about the importance of protecting herself against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s).   Nina dismissed her Grandmother’s advice because her Grandmother’s stress on abstinence as the best way to protect herself from HIV and other STD’s.  One day, however, Nina was talking with her friend’s boyfriend when he confided in her that he was HIV positive and he did not know how to tell his girlfriend.  Nina was frightened as she thought that this could be happening to her.  Her Grandmother’s advice came flooding back.  She told her friend’s boyfriend that he must tell his girlfriend and begin to use protection on the counsel of a doctor.  She also realized that caring for oneself is more important than anything else.   She was so impacted by this lesson that she decided to work with girls of her age to educate them on how to be free and independent while respecting themselves and protecting themselves from HIV.

If you are a woman or girl, love yourself and take action to protect yourself from HIV!

For more information and materials http: http://1.usa.gov/1R0nFHG

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February 19th, 2016

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Reflections from Seniors Decide Forum

By Dr. Yanira Cruz

Seniors:  we have often been guided by their wisdom and experience.  Who doesn’t remember listening to their Grandfather’s stories or being guided by their Grandmother’s advice? Often, though, that wisdom and experience gets lost in public debates and election cycles.  Seniors have always made up an important voting bloc, but today their influence is felt more than ever because of large demographic shifts in the U.S.  As the baby boomer generation continues to retire and age over the coming decades, seniors will gain more clout at the polls as the U.S. becomes an aging population.

Seniors having more influence on public policy and politics can help the nation to benefit from their wisdom and experience.   It also serves to help focus the country on issues important to seniors.  What are the issues that concern seniors the most?  Well, yesterday, I was honored to take part in a public forum representing Hispanic seniors with 2016 President Candidates called Seniors Decide 2016.

Seniors Decide 2016 is a public forum providing Presidential Candidates with an unbiased platform and the opportunity for them to share their views on issues critical to older Americans.  It was developed by the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, of which the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) is a member.    Seniors Decide 2016 was broadcasted through a streaming webcast and provided a platform for social media before, during and after the forum.  Seniors across the nation were invited to submit their questions ahead of time via the Seniors Decide 2016 website.  I was honored to represent Hispanic seniors during the event.

Key issues that were discussed during Seniors Decide 2016 included the following:

  1. The importance of retirement security, including financial security and Medicare. People facing retirement age in the future are worried that Medicare might not be available for them.  This was a key concern across all senior demographics.
  2. A second issue that was a key concern across all senior demographics was concern about being able to cover basic necessities during one’s senior years and the future strength of the Social Security system.
  3. A key question stemming from concerns in the Hispanic community and posed by NHCOA is how the next President will reduce hunger among seniors.

The event provided the opportunity for the candidates to respond to these issues and many more.  For more information on Seniors Decide 2016 and highlights of the event, go to www.seniorsdecide.org.  The 2016 presidential election is going to be an extremely important one for our nation and for our seniors!  Be informed and make your voices heard through your vote throughout the primaries and next November!



February 17th, 2016

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