Reading Help

A propósito del Mes de la Herencia Hispana resaltamos la relación médico-paciente y su impacto en la salud del Adulto Mayor Latino

Por Nicolás Peña

NHCOA/WDC/September 2017.- La falta de preparación de los hispanos en el cuidado de un familiar adulto mayor en Estados Unidos impacta negativamente en su correcta alimentación. Si a esta realidad le sumamos la ausencia de atención médica de calidad, el riesgo de desnutrición es mucho mayor. Según la Sociedad Gerontológica Americana 30 por ciento de los adultos mayores en EEUU sufre de desnutrición, mientras que 65% la padece mientras se encuentran hospitalizados. Los expertos coinciden en que la formación académica de los médicos debe pasar por un proceso de transformación que incentive a la humanización de esta profesión en favor del adulto mayor.

Según la Asociación Médica Mundial los médicos deben:

  • Esforzarse para crear una relación de confianza médico-paciente-familia.
  • Proteger al máximo la confidencialidad del paciente.
  • Tienen el deber de orientar a sus familiares (quienes cuidan de ellos) durante la recuperación o consulta médica.
  • Informar toda sospecha de maltrato o abuso contra el adulto mayor.

A medida que pasan los años la nutrición del adulto mayor se perjudica por cambios en el gusto, el olfato y hasta la visión, afectando así el disfrute de los alimentos. La perdida de piezas dentales anula la capacidad de masticar y la disminución de la función gastrointestinal interfiere con la absorción de nutrientes y el proceso de digestion. En este sentido, es importante evaluar las siguientes recomendaciones:

  • Consuma tres tazas de leche diariamente (sin grasa o baja en grasa).
  • Consumir alimentos ricos en vitamina b12, como cereales fortificados.
  • Evite consumir alimentos con alto contenido en sodio
  • Utilice especies y hierbas para saborear en lugar de la sal.
  • Agregue a sus meriendas, frutas y/o vegetales rebanados y de fácil masticación.
  • Consulte a su doctor, alternativas a los medicamentos que utiliza si observa cambios en su apetito.

Según la ultima encuesta desarrollada por el Consejo Nacional Hispano para el Adulto Mayor (NHCOA por sus siglas en inglés), mas de 50% de los consultados aseguró vivir con 10 mil dolares al año, lo que resulta insuficiente para acceder a una buena alimentación. Ante esta realidad los medios de comunicación social deben adquirir el compromiso de difundir los programas de asistencia gubernamental disponibles, o ceder espacios en su programación para que organizaciones como NHCOA lo hagan.

Video: A propósito del Mes de la Herencia Hispana resaltamos la relación médico-paciente y su impacto en la salud del Adulto Mayor Latino

Foto: Cortesía diariod3

Are you sure it wasn’t food poisoning?

WDC/September 2017.- The United States food supply is one of the safest in the world; however, that doesn’t mean our food is free from all pathogenic bacteria. As we celebrate National Food Safety Education Month this September, the United States Department of Agriculture, along with our partners at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, want you to know that it is possible for your food to be almost completely safe from pathogenic bacteria by following the four basic steps to food safety.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, foodborne illness will cause 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths each year. While not all bacteria present in food products is harmful (in fact, bacterial species are essential in production of delicious and safe yogurt and cheese products), some have the potential to cause severe illness in certain individuals. Meat and poultry products are not sterile when they are purchased, nor are egg products or produce items. This means that proper storage, handling and cooking technique are essential in preventing foodborne illnesses.

Symptoms of food poisoning

It can be hard to differentiate between food poisoning and the flu; often the symptoms are similar if not identical. While different types of pathogenic bacteria can cause different symptoms, food poisoning generally presents itself with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and fever. Because of the similarities between bacterial food poisoning and viral flu symptoms, many people will assume that they are experiencing the flu rather than foodborne illness and wait out the symptoms rather than go to the doctor for testing. Symptoms of food poisoning can appear anywhere between four hours and one week after ingesting a contaminated food item, and can persist for as short a time as 24 hours or as long as a week. This variability in both onset and duration of symptoms is another reason food poisoning so often goes unidentified. Pathogenic bacteria are more likely to cause infection or illness in individuals with certain physical conditions. Infants, children, pregnant women, and older adults are often at a higher risk for foodborne illness. Those with weakened immune systems, such as individuals with HIV/AIDS, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, or transplant patients may also be more susceptible to foodborne illness. It is especially important for members of these groups to receive medical attention in instances of food poisoning because foodborne illness is most likely to be fatal in members of these vulnerable populations.

Causes of Food Poisoning

When pathogenic bacteria and viruses are present in food, and that food is not properly stored, handled or cooked, it can cause illness. The most common strains of bacteria that cause infection are Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter, and Listeria. Many of these bacteria are present in raw meat, poultry, and eggs. Others are found on produce or even people’s hands, and can cause illness when proper hygiene is not followed. Food poisoning can also be caused by molds or parasites though bacterial infection is the most common. Some foodborne illness may also be caused by allergies to a specific food, though food allergy is not necessarily the same thing as food poisoning.

In case of food poisoning

If you think you may be experiencing food poisoning, your first step should be to seek medical attention, if necessary. If you have been experiencing symptoms for longer than 24 hours, or are a member of an at-risk group such as those listed above, seek medical attention immediately.

If a portion of the food you believe made you sick is still available, preserve it and label it as dangerous so no one else becomes sick from it. If you became sick from food served at a local restaurant or large gathering, alert your local health department.

If you believe you may have experienced food poisoning in the past, it may not be necessary to alert your local health department. More than likely, there will be little they can do if your symptoms have been over for a significant period of time or you are unaware of exactly what products made you sick. Just keep food safety tips in mind for future food preparation and know what to look out for if you have similar symptoms in the future.

Prevention strategies: Making sure you don’t get sick again

In general, using the four basic steps to food safety: clean, separate, cook, and chill should help you prevent food poisoning. When preparing food, make sure that your hands and all cooking surfaces are washed frequently and correctly. Separate raw meat away from other items that you may also be preparing. Cooking meat, poultry, egg products, and fish to the right temperature as measured by a food thermometer, and maintaining it at least 140oF after cooking will ensure that bacteria present in raw meat are killed before consumption. Finally, refrigerating perishable food within two hours of cooking and storing it properly will keep harmful bacteria away from your food and will keep you safe and healthy.

Any other questions?

Contact the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline or AskKaren at www.askkaren.gov and www.preguntaleakaren.gov

By Abigail Shew,

Food Safety Education Staff, Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA

¿Está usted seguro que no fue una intoxicación alimentaria?

WDC/Septiembre 2017.- La cadena de suministro de alimentos de los Estados Unidos es una de las más seguras del mundo; sin embargo, eso no significa que nuestros alimentos están libres de todas las bacterias patogénicas. Al celebrar en septiembre el Mes Nacional de la Educación en Seguridad Alimentaria, el Departamento de Agricultura de los Estados Unidos (USDA, por sus siglas en inglés), junto a nuestros colaboradores en los Centros para el Control y Prevención de las Enfermedades (CDC, por sus siglas en inglés) y la Administración de Medicamentos y Alimentos (FDA, por sus siglas en inglés), quieren que usted sepa que es posible que sus alimentos sean casi completamente seguros de bacterias patogénicas siguiendo los cuatro pasos básicos de seguridad alimentaria.


De acuerdo con los Centros para el Control y Prevención de las Enfermedades (CDC, por sus siglas en inglés) las intoxicaciones alimentarias causaran 128,000 hospitalizaciones y 3,000 muertes cada año. Al mismo tiempo, no todas las bacterias presentes en los alimentos son dañinas (de hecho, hay bacterias esenciales en la producción deliciosa y segura de productos como el yogur y el queso), algunas tienen el potencial de causar enfermedades severas a algunas personas. Los productos de carnes y aves no son estériles cuando se compran, ni los productos de huevo o las verduras. Esto significa que un almacenamiento y manipulación seguro y técnicas de cocinar son esenciales en la prevención de intoxicaciones alimentarias.

Síntomas de Intoxicación Alimentaria

Diferenciar entre una intoxicación alimentaria y la gripe podría llegar a ser difícil; a veces los síntomas son similares o hasta idénticos. Al mismo tiempo diferentes tipos de bacterias patogénicas pueden causar síntomas distintos, las intoxicaciones alimentarias generalmente se presentan con síntomas como nauseas, vómitos, diarrea, dolor abdominal y fiebre. Por el parecido entre los síntomas de la intoxicación alimentaria bacteriana y la gripe viral, muchas personas asumen que están experimentando la gripe en vez de una intoxicación alimentaria y esperan con los síntomas en vez de ir al médico para realizarse pruebas.

Los síntomas de intoxicación alimentaria pueden aparecer en cualquier momento entre cuatro (4) horas y una semana después de ingerir el alimento contaminado, y pueden durar por un corto tiempo como 24 horas o tanto como una semana. Esta variedad de inicio y duración de los síntomas es otra razón para que la intoxicación alimentaria muchas veces pase sin ser identificada. Las bacterias patogénicas son más propensas a causar infecciones o enfermedades a personas con ciertas condiciones físicas. Infantes, niños, mujeres embarazadas y adultos mayores muchas veces están a mayor riesgo de sufrir enfermedades transmitidas por los alimentos. Aquellas personas con el sistema inmunológico debilitado, como por ejemplo pacientes con VIH/SIDA, diabetes, cáncer, enfermedades del riñón o trasplante también podrían estar más susceptibles a enfermedades transmitidas por los alimentos. Es especialmente importante para los miembros de estos grupos recibir atención médica en caso de una intoxicación alimentaria pues una enfermedad transmitida por los alimentos podría ser fatal en miembros de estas poblaciones vulnerables.

Causas de una Intoxicación Alimentaria

Cuando los virus y bacterias patogénicas están presentes en los alimentos y esos alimentos no son almacenados, manipulados o cocinados de manera apropiada podrían causar una enfermedad. Las cepas de bacterias más comunes que causan infecciones son Salmonella, E. coli y Listeria. Muchas de estas bacterias están presentes en las carnes, aves y huevos crudos. Otras se encuentran en las verduras o en las manos de las personas, y pueden causar enfermedades cuando no se siguen medidas apropiadas de higiene. La intoxicación alimentaria también puede ser causada por hongos o parásitos pero la infección bacteriana es la más común. Algunas enfermedades transmitidas por los alimentos también pueden ser causadas por alergias a alimentos en específico, aunque una alergia a los alimentos no necesariamente es lo mismo que una intoxicación alimentaria.

En Caso de una Intoxicación Alimentaria

Si usted piensa que está experimentando una intoxicación alimentaria, su primer paso debe ser buscar atención medica, de ser necesario. Si usted ha estado experimentando síntomas por más de 24 horas, o pertenece a uno de los grupos de riesgo como los mencionados anteriormente, busque ayuda médica inmediatamente.

Si una porción de los alimentos que usted cree le enfermó aún está disponible, presérvelo y etiquételo como peligroso para que nadie más vaya a enfermarse por el mismo. Si usted se enfermó por alimentos servidos en un restaurante o un grupo grande de personas reunidas, alerte a su departamento de salud local.

Si usted cree haber experimentado una intoxicación alimentaria en el pasado, a lo mejor no es necesario alertar a su departamento de salud local. Lo más probable, es poco lo que ellos puedan hacer si sus síntomas han terminado en un periodo de tiempo significativo o si usted no sabe exactamente qué productos le enfermaron. Mantenga estos consejos de seguridad alimentaria al preparar alimentos en el futuro y saber a qué debe estar pendiente si sufre síntomas similares en el futuro.

Estrategias de Prevención: Asegurando que usted no se enferme de nuevo

En general, usando los cuatro pasos básicos de seguridad alimentaria: limpiar, separar, cocinar y enfriar debe ayudarle a prevenir intoxicaciones alimentarias. Cuando prepare los alimentos, asegure que sus manos y todas las superficies de cocinar se limpian frecuentemente y correctamente. Separe las carnes crudas lejos de otros productos que usted podría estar preparando. Cocine las carnes, aves, productos de huevo y pescados a las temperaturas correctas medidas por un termómetro de alimentos y manteniéndolos al menos a 140 °F luego de cocinarlos pues esto asegura que las bacterias presentes en las carnes crudas mueren antes de ser consumidas. Finalmente, refrigere los alimentos perecederos en dos horas de haberlos cocinado y al almacenarlos apropiadamente va a mantener a las bacterias dañinas lejos de su comida para mantenerlo a usted seguro y saludable.

Si tiene preguntas contacte a la Línea de Información sobre Carnes y Aves del USDA al 1-888-MPHotline o Pregúntele a Karen en www.preguntaleakaren.gov

Por: Abigail Shew,

Personal de Educación de Seguridad Alimentaria, Servicio de Inocuidad e Inspección de Alimentos, FSIS-USDA

The United States Can Reduce Socioeconomic Disparities By Focusing On Chronic Diseases

Kenneth Thorpe, Kathy Ko Chin, Yanira Cruz, Marjorie A. Innocent, and Lillian Singh

August 2017.- “It is natural to ask whether rising gaps in income might be associated with widening gaps in health and longevity between rich and poor Americans,” Jacob Bor and colleagues noted in an article in The Lancet this spring. This association is bidirectional: If someone is poor, they have a greater likelihood of having chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease and associated complications. Illness also restricts financial security, especially within communities of color. The June issue of Health Affairs, Pursuing Health Equity, draws much needed attention to the need to pursue solutions that address the interrelationship between health status and socioeconomic influences.

One unorthodox but highly effective approach to addressing health and socioeconomic disparities in the United States would be to close the racial and ethnic wealth gap in our society by improving health. We argue that such policy solutions should prioritize chronic disease prevention and management, specifically.

Chronic Disease Burden Among Communities Of Color

People of color face higher rates of diabetes, obesity, stroke, heart disease, and cancer than whites. In the case of diabetes, the risk of being diagnosed is 77 percent higher for African Americans and 66 percent higher among Hispanics, than for whites. Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders are at twice the risk of developing diabetes than the population overall.

In addition to higher rates of chronic illness, lower wages and insufficient insurance coverage among people of color greatly limits their access to treatment and often forces them to work while ill. Adjusting for inflation, incomes for all poor and middle-income Americans have declined over the past 15 years. As people of color are disproportionately represented within lower income levels, there is a growing wealth gap between racially and ethnically diverse households compared with white households, the size of which has not been seen since the early twentieth century. Furthermore, in 2015, for nonelderly adults, the percentage of African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, and American Indian and Alaska Natives who were uninsured was one-and-a-half to two times as large as the percentage of white Americans who were uninsured.

The Costs Of Chronic Disease

Research has shown that the onset of a chronic disease reduces wages by 18 percent. Chronic illness may restrict employment and increase medical expenses and costly caregiving responsibilities, which all contribute to widening the income and wealth gaps.

On average, chronic diseases are projected to cost the United States $794 billion per year in lost productivity alone between 2016 and 2030. Relatedly, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies estimates that health inequities and premature death cost the US economy $309.3 billion a year. People with lower incomes have a greater likelihood of having one or more chronic illnesses, and greater morbidity means higher out-of-pocket costs. According to a RAND Health study, Americans with just one or two chronic illnesses in 2014 paid double the out-of-pocket costs compared to Americans without chronic conditions. Americans with three or more chronic illnesses paid four times as much or more. With median household income 140 percent to 171 percent less than their white peers, respectively, Hispanic and African American households have fewer resources to absorb those costs. Incomes among Hmong, Thai, Cambodian, Laotian, and Bangladeshi Americans are even lower.

Chronic disease not only affects the earning prospects of the individual affected but often also negatively impacts income for family members. Low-income Americans cannot usually afford to hire professional assistance to care for a loved one with one or more serious chronic illnesses. Thus, many family members take time off from work or leave the workforce altogether, resulting in lost wages and diminished opportunities for workplace advancement. A 2016 study by AARP found that three of every four Americans who are actively providing caregiver assistance are incurring significant out-of-pocket costs to do so—almost $7,000 annually, on average. One in every six caregivers has needed to reduce the amount of money they put into savings or toward retirement. More than half of them have had to take time off from work or reduce the number of hours they work.

Increasing upward mobility is a critical part of any plan to close the wealth gap in the United States, but mobility is difficult to attain for those who face or are more likely to face debilitating chronic illnesses. Many chronic illnesses have a direct effect on people’s ability to work, affecting their ability to contribute financially, and diminishing their strength and stamina. For people of color who already occupy too great a share of the lower-income cohorts, chronic illnesses serve as a barrier that prevents them from climbing the economic ladder or, worse, from even being able to maintain their current status.

Moving Forward

A holistic approach, one that includes a focus on the disproportionate impact of chronic disease on communities of color, needs to be applied to close the chasms between rich and poor in this country. All of the good-faith efforts to reduce poverty and promote economic development in vulnerable communities will have limited effect if we don’t also take action to address the co-occurring, high rates of chronic illnesses that undermine opportunities for economic progress for individuals, and the health status and diversity of our workforce overall.

We’ve seen promising steps forward. The National Institutes of Health launched a new research program last year to address the high chronic disease rate among people of color, as well as among people of disadvantaged socioeconomic status. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program, working with community organizations, has been successful in reducing smoking rates and improving nutrition among communities of color. Moreover, work under the Department of Health and Human Services Disparities Action Plan included efforts to address important issues such as provider shortages, gaps in health data collection, access to coverage, and racial and ethnic disparities in cancer prevention and care.

Still, there is much more to be done, as great disparities in this country in wealth, income, and education remain. It is increasingly clear that poor health negatively impacts wealth, just as lack of wealth is a detriment to health. Poor health, disproportionately concentrated in communities of color, contributes significantly to economic, educational, and social barriers that are extremely difficult to overcome.

Greater investment in chronic disease prevention and management is needed today to reduce economic disparities along racial and ethnic lines and lead to a healthier, prosperous nation for all.

@Health_Affairs

 

Empowering Communities to Age with Dignity

By Dr. Yanira Cruz / President and CEO of NHCOA

NHCOA/WDC/July 2017. The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), brought together members of the older adult population along with elected officials, social advocates, and service providers in a Symposium at the Miami-Dade College InterAmerican Campus on June 29th.

This linguistically and culturally safe space gave those present the opportunity to discuss solutions to issues such as economic insecurity, hunger and affordable housing, with special emphasis on Hispanic Caregiving.

This activity was part of a three day Regional Conferences that also included a two day Empowerment and Civic Engagement Training— NHCOA’s signature leadership program.

“Empowering Communities to Age with Dignity” is the conferences’ slogan for this year. With this in mind, NHCOA’s focus this year is to engage people to participate in conversations about supporting Hispanic caregivers through education and training.

Empowering and supporting caregivers is the key to help us achieve our common goals and ensure our older adults can enjoy their golden years in good health, with dignity and economic security.

Last year, NHCOA was able to bring together the most experienced professionals at national level to discuss family caregiving realities, especially among diverse communities.

Family caregivers help make it possible for older adults and people with disabilities of all ages to live independently in their homes and remain a part of their communities. Roughly40 million family caregivers provide unpaid care for their loved ones to the tune of $470 billion annually.

In 2015, out of the 43.5 million people that provided unpaid care to a family member, 9.1million were Latinos. In other words, non-white Hispanic caregivers have the highest reported prevalence of caregiving among any other race or ethnic group. This is of extreme importance because Hispanic caregivers help delay and prevent more costly care and unnecessary hospitalizations, saving taxpayer dollars.

This is why NHCOA hosted the first Caregiving Thought Leaders Roundtable in Washington, DC and after a very productive discussion we released the proceedings to promote local and national discussions on this issue.

  • I would like to highlights some key points that came out of this discussion:
  • There is a drastic need to understand who Hispanic caregivers are and what their specific needs are.
  • There exists a great need to conduct primary and secondary research to document the reality of Hispanic family caregivers and to develop programs and services that target Hispanic caregivers.
  • It is necessary to frame caregiving as a multigenerational issue and reach out to younger generations, who also need support and resources.
  • Caregiving as a community issue! Therefore, we need to seek ways to develop support and connections in a broader spectrum.
  • Implementation strategies need to be developed to provide education and information in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.

Latino low-income family caregivers spend about 44% of their annual income on caregiving. That is why NHCOA is diligently working to create awareness about the need to pass The Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act, which calls for the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers by bringing together stakeholders from the private and public sectors to identify specific actions communities, providers, government, employers and others can take to make it easier to coordinate care for a loved one, get information, referrals and resources, and improve respite options so family caregivers can reset and recharge.

Additionally, NHCOA is working at the federal and local levels to advocate for paid leave legislation that would provide paid leave following the birth of a child or to take care of a personal or family member with a serious illness. The existing Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), allows eligible workers to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave following the birth of a child or to take care of a personal or family member with a serious illness. But many families can’t afford to take unpaid leave. And many workers are not subject to FMLA.

The lack of paid leave costs the U.S. economy roughly $21 billion a year. The Senate is considering a bill called the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Actor the FAMILY Act, which would establish the Office of Paid Family and Medical Leave within the Social Security Administration. As written, the bill would create a nationwide insurance program that offers up to 12 weeks of leave for family and medical purposes with partial pay.

It is crucial that Hispanics become involved in these initiatives. We need to raise our voices in order to disseminate the positive impact of these bills.

There are a many barriers to overcome and NHCOA is committed to continuing the struggle for an inclusive and quality health care system.

The American Health Care Act could be a reality. This proposal, which has passed in the House and is being considered in the Senate, warns to be devastating for more than 20 million people who now have health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Some of the things we know about the American Health Care Act include:

  • At least 4 million Latinos in the United risk of losing health care.
  • Insurance companies would be able to raise rates by five times for health care plans for young people. These plans are already some of the most expensive on the market.
  • Millions living in poverty across 31 states would lose their benefits offered by Medicaid.
  • Emergency rooms would be over crowded as they would become the only access to basic medical treatment for those who lack health insurance.

With the repeal of the ACA, the benefits of Medicare would also be impacted. People over 65 and those who are suffering from some types of disabilities are could losing independence and the possibility of having basic insurance.

Health care access, affordable housing, hunger, and nutrition are just a few of the challenges Hispanic older adults face.

The National Hispanic Council on Aging continues to educate, promote and advocate for the wellbeing of aging Hispanics.

NHCOA does this by:

  • Prioritizing aging, particularly diverse aging communities’ needs in the allocation of resources and funding opportunities.
  • Ensuring that programs and benefits address the needs of the growing Hispanic aging population.
  • Continuing to prioritize and target the closing of health-related disparities among Hispanic older adults, their families and caregivers.
  • Creating culturally appropriate and age-sensitive volunteer networks that work with community-based organizations and provide seniors with information about social programs and how to access them.

By remaining united we are able to ensure that Hispanic older adults can enjoy their golden years with good health, dignity and economic security.

Thanks Miami!

NHCOA Raises Awareness on Elder Abuse

NHCOA/WDC/June 2017. The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) – the leading national organization working to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families and caregivers, is joining with communities and organizations across the globe to raise awareness on elder abuse for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day this June 15th.

With the Hispanic older adult population expected to double by 2050, it is crucial to raise awareness on issues affecting this diverse community. It is estimated that there are between 820,000 and 2.5 million cases of elder abuse reported every year. Unfortunately, for every incident reported, there are many older adults that suffer in silence. There are also some factors that keep the abuse of Latino older adults in the shadows, and they are all the more reason on why raising awareness is so important. These factors may include reliance on the family, the cultural value of marriage and loyalty to spouse, language barriers and immigration status.

Because elder abuse takes several shapes and impacts important areas of older adults’ lives, it is an issue that NHCOA is quite aware of and attentive to, especially as this segment of the population grows.

NHCOA is working to improve the Older Americans Act to ensure that service providers that respond to elder abuse do so in a culturally and linguistically competent manner.

Abuse is truly more than just harm, and we encourage you to recognize the warning signs, for abuse can take several forms:

– Emotional Abuse happens when older adults are intimidated or scared to do the things they enjoy doing.  No one should have to live in fear or feel threatened.

What to look for: changed eating pattern, fear, passivity, isolated from family

– Sexual Abuse is any kind of sexual contact that a person does not want to make.

What to look for: torn or stained clothing, reported abdominal pain

– Physical Abuse is when someone causes pain or injury to another person.  Older adults deserve only the best treatment.  Physical abuse can have long lasting effects and should be reported immediately.

What to look for: unexplained falls or injuries, signs of physical restraint

– Abandonment happens when the person that is meant to care for an older adult avoids this responsibility.  Latino older adults have spent their lives caring for others.  They should receive the care of their loved ones when they need it the most.   

What to look for: poor hygiene, lost weight, malnourishment

– Financial Abuse happens when people pressure or convince older adults to give them money.  Older adults have worked hard for a lifetime, their money belongs to them, and they deserve to spend it the way they want to.

What to look for: irregular bank withdrawals, lack of affordable amenities

“Addressing elder abuse, like any issue confronting older adults, is a family affair within the Hispanic community. Everyday, NHCOA strives to be that voice for the nation’s Hispanic older adults. We invite you to join us in raising awareness on elder abuse, an issue that affects millions of older adults every year,” said Dr. Yanira Cruz, President and CEO of NHCOA.

If you believe an older adult is being abused, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has Spanish speaking assistants available around the clock at 1-800-799-SAFE.

The National Center on Elder Abuse has a list of organizations to contact in your state at 1-800-677-1116 and at: http://ncea.aoa.gov/Stop_Abuse/Get_Help/State/index.aspx

If you or a loved one has been a victim of Medicare fraud, report it. NHCOA can help, call 1-866-943-7289.

NHCOA urges you to vote “No” on any Importation Amendment to H.R. 2430, the Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act (FDARA)

June 6, 2017

Dear Representative,

As the country’s leading national organization working to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families and their caregivers, the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) urges you to vote No on any Importation Amendment to H.R. 2430, the Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act (FDARA).

An Important Amendment could result in the introduction of unsafe or counterfeit medications into the U.S. drug supply, putting American lives at risk.

Read more: Oppose importation amendment on H.R. 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017

Hispanics and Latinos are facing the fastest increase in the rates of type 2 diabetes

By Dr. Yanira Cruz, President and CEO of NHCOA.

Hispanics and Latinos make up the fastest-growing demographic of the US population. In 2015, the Hispanic population reached 56.6 million, making Hispanics the nation’s largest ethnic/racial minority, constituting 17.6% of the US population. It is projected that by 2060, the Hispanic population will reach 119 million, or 28.6% of the US population.

In addition to rapid population growth, Hispanics and Latinos are also facing the fastest increase in the rates of type 2 diabetes. Hispanics are at a greater risk than non-Hispanics for having prediabetes, a treatable condition categorized by somewhat elevated blood glucose levels, suggestive that a person is at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart-disease.

Many with prediabetes are unaware that they have it. A study published in 2013, found that prediabetes among Latinos in the 18-44 age group was 33% for men and 23.7% for women but rose significantly in the 45-64 age group for men and women (46.9% and 44.7% respectively).  In both age groups, men had a higher percentage of pre-diabetes.

If prediabetes goes undetected or if lifestyle changes are not made, prediabetes progresses to type 2 diabetes. One study found that more than half of Hispanic men and women face the highest lifetime risk of being diagnosed with diabetes. Albeit, Latinos have a lower death rate than non-Latinos, they face roughly a 50% higher death rate from diabetes.

When looking at the ten leading causes of death for Hispanics in 2014, diabetes was the fifth (4.6% of deaths), but seventh for non-Hispanic whites (2.5% of deaths). Among the top health concerns among Latino/Hispanic Americans were health care costs and diabetes.

It is important to note, the considerable diversity that exists within subgroups of Hispanics/Latinos, resulting in greater variability in prevalence of diabetes.  Diabetes prevalence varies from 18.3% among Mexican descendants to a low of 10.2% among South American descendants.

A study by the National Health, Lung and Blood Institute found that roughly 18% of Dominican and Puerto Rican descendants, 18% of Central American descendants and 13% of Cuban descendants living in the US had type 2 diabetes.  This study also found that diabetes prevalence increased significantly with age, affecting more than 50% for Hispanic women and 44.3% for men by the time they reached 70.

The US Hispanic older adult population is the fastest-growing segment of the aging demographic. In 2014, 46.2 million Americans were aged 65 and older; this number is expected to double by 2060. Hispanics made up 8%, or 3.6 million, of the Medicare beneficiary population in 2014. By 2060, Hispanics are expected to constitute 22% of the older population in the US.

Hispanic older adults and their families are often first generation immigrants and are individuals who have faced discrimination throughout their lifetime. They tend to be Spanish monolingual, have low levels of formal education, low health literacy and have different cultural mores than the larger population.

Access to healthcare, services, and nutrition continue to be challenging due to cultural barriers not often understood by service providers. The Hispanic population throughout America is highly diverse. Factors such as geographic area, time in the U.S., level of acculturation, and the country of origin all contribute to this diversity. This is especially important because length of residency in the US is correlated with likelihood of prediabetes and the development of type 2 diabetes.

Hispanic older adults are an especially vulnerable population. They carry a greater burden of chronic disease, experiencing the onset of type 2 diabetes up to seven years earlier in life than non-Hispanic whites. They are also more likely to suffer complications and mortality from chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes. Even though Hispanic older adults live up to five years longer than the general population, they often live those years in poor health.

Despite the eligibility of most Hispanic older adults for federal, state and local programs, such as SNAP, Medicare part D, and programs that provide assistance with meals and housing, many of the nation’s Hispanic seniors are not accessing these programs. Furthermore, many Hispanic older adults are facing severe situations that are detrimental to their overall wellbeing, such as poor health and economic insecurity.

There are many complex underlying reasons for the lack of access to programs. Few organizations focus on serving Hispanic older adults across the nation. However, NHCOA has found that this is a gap that goes much deeper than a lack of Spanish speaking personnel on agency staff. NHCOA has discovered that there is a great disconnect between programs available and Hispanic older adults and caregivers.

 

Breaking stigmas, creating awareness, and increasing age-sensitive education are three key elements to improve the lives Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers

By Dr. Yanira Cruz.

NHCOA/May 2017.- The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) continues its work by looking for strategies that amplify the voices and needs of thousands of families that have a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. These strategies will shed light on the specific needs of Latino families, ensuring that they can be considered in the decision-making process related to caregiving and treatment.

Latinos are one and a half times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than whites, and Latinos are also at a higher risk of developing other dementias than Blacks and whites. This is due to several factors including 1) high rates of chronic disease such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease, which are known risk factors for Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and 2) the longer life expectancy of Latinos, which is the greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s.

In addition to the stated risk factors, Latinos also face many health disparities, including high levels of food insecurity and lack of health insurance. Around 18% of Hispanic older adults live below the poverty line compared with 8% non-Hispanic whites. Over 26% of Hispanic older adults lack health insurance, compared to 10.5% of non-Hispanics, making it difficult for Hispanics to access quality healthcare.

All these health disparities contribute to the rise in cases of Alzheimer’s among Latinos. Unfortunately, the number of diagnosed cases of Alzheimer’s among Latinos is only expected to rise, reaching an estimated 1.3 million Latino seniors by 2050.

This situation is even more heart breaking because many Latino families and caregivers do not have the financial resources or the support network to face the challenges of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. In fact, the average Hispanic caregiver’s household income is $38,600, well below the national median ($54,700 – 42% less). As a consequence, Hispanic caregivers are more vulnerable to suffer from financial strain and emotional stress.

Hispanic older adults and their caregivers lack information and services that take into account their specific linguistic, cultural, and age-sensitive needs. There is a great disconnect between programs and services available and Latino beneficiaries resulting in the feeling of isolation for many of them.

In the light of these challenges, NHCOA continues to educate, promote and advocate for the wellbeing of Hispanic older adults and their caregivers. Specifically, NHCOA advocates to:

  1. Prioritize aging and family caregiving in the allocation of resources and funding opportunities,
  2. Ensure that programs and benefits address the needs of the growing aging Hispanic population,
  3. Strives to close the health-related disparities gap that exists for Hispanic older adults, their families and caregivers through programs and initiatives such as its Salud y Bienestar program and Paid Leave initiative, and
  4. Create culturally appropriate and age-sensitive volunteer networks that work with community-based organizations to provide Latino families and caregivers with information about social programs and how to access them.

Breaking stigmas, creating awareness, and increasing age-sensitive education are three key ways in which Latinos living with Alzheimer’s, their families and their caregivers can have improved qualities of life.

 

Sexuality and Sexual Health among Older Adults

NHCOA/May 2017.- According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2016), it is expected that by the year 2033 the population of older adults will outnumber people younger than 18 in the United States. With the life expectancy of older adults increasing, we must continue educating and informing this population on maintaining a healthy quality of life. Many older adults continue to be independent, expressing their basic needs and engaging in and enjoying sexual relationships.

Aging is a natural process of life and it is normal for the body and its functions to go through physiological and emotional changes, such as cognitive loss, and even higher vulnerability to diseases. However, basic needs, such as intimacy, love, desire for contact, and emotional expressions are a necessary part of fulfillment for everyone. Sexuality varies among all individuals since it is influenced by multiple factors including age, sexual orientation, religion, cultural values, and physical aspects that reflect each individual’s sexuality.

Growing older does not necessarily restrict one from having or enjoying sex.  Evidence suggests that most seniors’ desire and enjoy sexual activities with their partners. Moreover, they are sexual beings that also need to fulfill needs such as empathy, feeling understood, accepted, being in company and heard by their loved ones. We must take into consideration that this population does not necessarily relate sexuality with intercourse. They may view the need for intimacy and the sensation of feeling loved as part of their sexual identity. Therefore, sexuality and intimacy are valuable and important for seniors when engaging in sexual activities with their respective partners.

Older adults are not immune from needing to practice safe sexual activities; activities based on mutual respect, agreement, and healthy relationships. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), sexual health involves physical, emotional, and mental well-being employing a respectful and safe approach to sexuality including sexual relationships. As a result, many older adults continue to be sexual beings even if they experience physiological changes, chronic diseases, sexual dysfunctions, depression, etc., and they still enjoy various forms of intimacy and sexually active lifestyles. It’s important to empower older adults to keep their bodies healthy by giving them access to health education and sexual health programs that are age appropriate so that they can continue to age in the best possible health and enjoy their golden years.