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2012 National Summit










Working Together for a Stronger Golden America

2012 is a decisive year for the United States, and a unique opportunity for the Latino community to be influencers and power players, especially Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers.

As the demographic landscape of the country evolves, Latino seniors and older Americans are poised to be key influencers in America’s present and future through civic engagement efforts and community advocacy.

Hispanic older adults, the fastest growing group of the country’s aging population, represent 7% of the nation’s older adults, and by 2050, is projected to grow to 20%. In terms of significance and power, the growth of the Latino community and its aging population has an important role to play in the prosperity of our country.

Over the last few years, NHCOA has focused on leadership development and empowerment trainings at the regional level, providing the tools and resources to activate and empower community-driven advocacy campaigns. NHCOA uses these trainings to harness the power of advocacy during the annual National Summit. The moment to build and live in a stronger, golden America is now.

Registration closed Wednesday, September 26, 2012. If you have any questions, please e-mail

Day 1 & 2 – NHCOA Empowerment & Civic Engagement Training

NHCOA enhanced its signature Empowerment and Civic Engagement Training around the concept of “training the trainer” so the knowledge participants acquire, which includes grassroots leaders, lay educators (promotores) and other advocacy-oriented individuals who work in the aging field, has a ripple effect within their respective communities. ECET participants also obtain 1.3 CEUs (continuing education credits) for the two-day training through the University of Texas, San Antonio.

The two-day training on October 1-2, 2012 at the Churchill Hotel in Washington, DC is designed to help grassroots leaders empower their respective communities as they advocate on Hispanic aging issues, as well as provide them with the tools and resources to improve services and outreach within the communities they serve. Topics include understanding advocacy, how to identify the problems, and how to build the basis for a strong community-focused advocacy campaign.

Download the latest agenda.

Day 3 – NHCOA National Summit

The 2012 NHCOA National Summit is the leading information sharing and networking event, which convenes professionals, advocates, policy makers, and Hispanic community leaders to better understand the needs and concerns of Latino seniors and Hispanic families.

The purpose of the NHCOA National Summit is to ensure Hispanic older adults are fairly represented in U.S. policies, and encourage a multicultural dialogue to build a stronger, golden America. The 2012 NHCOA National Summit will take place October 3, 2012 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Download the latest agenda.

For more information, please e-mail or call 202-347-9733.

NHCOA Applauds Administration on Steps to End Alzheimer’s by 2025

Washington, DC—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 caregivers— made the following statement regarding the Administration’s announcement of a draft framework from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to end Alzheimer’s disease by 2025:
“As the leading national organization working to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers, the National Hispanic Council on Aging applauds the Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services for taking solid steps to end Alzheimer’s disease by 2025, a condition that is becoming a growing public health crisis among Hispanics in the United States.
“The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that the number of U.S. Hispanic Alzheimer’s patients will increase six-fold by 2050. That is why it is imperative we work collectively to ensure an end to this devastating disease which affects patients, their families and caregivers, and places a great burden on the nation’s health care system. The Administration’s framework is putting us on that path, and we look forward to actively collaborating on this effort.
“On our part, NHCOA is working to increase Alzheimer’s disease knowledge by conducting research to understand the attitudes, level of stigma, level of knowledge, and challenges within the Hispanic community as it relates to both caregivers and health care providers. It is our hope that the findings of this study will serve as the basis for interventions designed to ensure effective management of Alzheimer’s within the Hispanic community.
“As long as we work together, it is possible to bring an end to Alzheimer’s disease in our lifetime.”

NHCOA Highlights Diabetes Iniquities Among Diverse Seniors at Capitol Hill Briefing

Washington, DC — Today the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA)– the leading national organization working to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers– hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill entitled “The Diabetes Wave: Working Together to Turn the Tide” to discuss and seek solutions to the disparities in diabetes that confront diverse elders across the country.

Speakers included Congressional Diabetes Caucus members, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA, 34) and Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D, TX-20); Dr. Clive O. Callender, MD, one of the foremost specialists in organ transplant medicine in the country; and Latino Health Communications President Cecilia Pozo Fileti, MS, RD, FADA, a leader in diversity initiatives that bridge food, science, and health across cultures.

At the briefing NHCOA also presented the findings of a culturally and linguistically appropriate and age-sensitive public health intervention, Salud y Bienestar (Health and Well-Being), a program sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Walmart Foundation to help Hispanic older adults and caregivers prevent and manage their diabetes. To access and download information about the program, visit NHCOA’s E-Learning Center.
Below are NHCOA President and CEO Dr. Yanira Cruz’s prepared remarks:

“The statistics are alarming-every 17 seconds someone is diagnosed with diabetes[1]. It is very likely that this person is from a diverse community, and even more so, that she or he is an older adult.

“When we talk about diabetes, the biggest concerns often times isn’t the diagnosis itself, but the complications and ramifications it has for the patient, the patient’s family, the health care system, and the workforce at-large.

“Having diabetes isn’t an isolated condition- rather it impacts every part of a person’s life – from their daily routine and eating habits to their productivity in the workplace and economic security.

“This is no more different or traumatic for diverse elders, particularly Hispanics and African Americans, who are 66% more likely and 77% more likely, respectively, to develop diabetes throughout their lives[2].

“When NHCOA conducted the research that would lead to the development and implementation of the Health and Well-Being, or Salud y Bienestar program, we uncovered several factors that impact effective diabetes management among Latino seniors. The complete study can be found online at NHCOA’s E-Learning Center at

“Today, I’d to focus on three that were key to the success of Salud y Bienestar and that set it apart. First is the level of family involvement in seniors’ daily lives, particularly their health care. Hispanic older adults who receive support from their relatives are more likely to manage their condition successfully as opposed to elders who lived alone or isolated.

“A second factor is the impact of nutrition, as there is a strong cultural connection to food and cuisine in the Hispanic community. Thirdly, is presence of cultural and linguistic competency and age sensitivity within the health provider setting. Personalismo, which is the establishment of a personal, friendly bond beyond a professional relationship, is key to a Hispanic patient’s diabetes management.

“Therefore, it was with a science-based approach that focused on behavioral change, age sensitivity, and cultural and linguistic competency that Salud y Bienestar was developed with underwriting from the CDC and support from the Walmart Foundation.

“The objectives of the program were to reduce diabetes health disparities between Hispanic and non-Hispanic adults in the U.S. by helping delay the onset of diabetes among high-risk Hispanics; preventing the development of diabetes complications among those who already have the condition; and improving the quality of care for Hispanic seniors with diabetes.

“NHCOA also developed a Cultural Competence Course to address the existing gap in the health care provider-Hispanic patient relationship, which can also be found in the E-Learning Center on NHCOA’s website.

“Salud y Bienestar was implemented in four sites across the country at the grassroots-level, focusing on outreach and education through promotores de salud or lay health workers, who work for community-based organizations that are members of NHCOA’s Hispanic Aging Network.

“The promotores de salud often become the support system for seniors who are more isolated, teaching and reminding them how to prevent or manage their diabetes correctly through exercise routines and proper nutrition. They also can serve as a substitute family and a natural link between patients and health care providers, by ensuring seniors’ are treated in culturally and linguistically and age-sensitive way.

“After four years of implementation, we conducted a data analysis to gauge the effectiveness of the program among Hispanic older adults with or without diabetes, and promotores de salud, as well as to understand the characteristics of the program participants.

“Detailed pre and post-tests were performed on three main indicators- knowledge on diabetes, its risk factors, and diabetes prevention and control strategies. We also included data on the promotores de salud and analyzed the change of diabetes knowledge after they received program training.

“Overall, there was a positive change in knowledge of the three main indicators, especially as it referred to control and prevention. In one site, the change in knowledge for this indicator was a whopping 70%.

“However, the biggest takeaway was the program’s potential to be replicated on a larger scale to serve more Hispanic communities across the country, especially as they become the fastest-growing aging demographic in the country.

“It is crucial to invest in public health interventions like Salud y Bienestar that eliminate health iniquities to ensure the U.S. aging population is able to age in the best health possible.

Moreover, as we look toward the Reauthorization of the Older American Act, there are adjustments that can be made to Title III Parts C and D, particularly in terms of nutrition and meals services to reduce health disparities and provide culturally and linguistically appropriate nutrition education and services.

NHCOA to Host Capitol Hill Briefing to Address Disparities in Diabetes Among Diverse Elders

Washington, DC—Every 17 seconds, someone is diagnosed with diabetes, and the total impact of this disease reached $218 billion in 2007. In light of this, the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA)—the leading national organization working to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers— will host a Capitol Hill briefing to discuss and offer solutions to the iniquities diverse communities face, particularly older adults, who represent the fastest-growing age demographic in the country.

With the upcoming Older Americans Act (OAA) Reauthorization, public policy recommendations will be discussed to address this demographic shift. NHCOA will also present the findings of a culturally and linguistically appropriate and age-sensitive public health intervention developed to help Hispanic older adults and caregivers prevent and manage their diabetes with the support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Walmart Foundation.


WHO: Dr. Yanira Cruz, President & CEO, NHCOA
Congressman Charles Gonzalez (D, TX-20)
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R, FL-18)*
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D, CA-34)*
Cecilia Pozo Fileti, MS, RD, FADA, President, Latino Health Communications
Dr. Clive O. Callender, MD, Howard University

WHAT: Capitol Hill briefing to discuss and seek solutions to the disparities diverse seniors face in terms of
diabetes prevention and management.

WHEN: Tuesday, November 15, 2011
1:00 – 2:00 pm ET

WHERE: 2103 Rayburn HOB

DR. YANIRA CRUZ: Today for You, Tomorrow for Me / Hoy Por Ti, Mañana Por Mí

The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), as the name implies, works on Hispanic aging issues, but doesn’t limit its focus to the elderly. We understand that in order to properly address the issues of most impact to our Hispanic older adults, it is critical to include their families and caregivers in our work, whether it be research, policy or program-oriented. There is also a forward-looking nature in our work as aging is an issue that impacts us all, regardless of status, gender, profession, or creed.

Recently, I was proud to represent NHCOA and speak on behalf of those we serve at a policy briefing to discuss a new Hispanics in Philanthropies (HIP) study called “The Latino Age Wave: Examining the Future of Aging in the United States” ( This important study conducted by Global Policy Solutions made an important key finding: we are facing an aging agency infrastructure that is federally funded, yet has major gaps when it comes to serving our Hispanic older adults.

The good news is that we have a great opportunity to change this, as Congress is soon scheduled to reauthorize the Older Americans Act, which covers the gamut of federally funded senior services. Congress needs to take the necessary steps to ensure Hispanic older adults and all diverse elders-African Americans, Asian and Pacific Islander, American Indian and Native Alaskan, and LGTB elders- are served in a culturally and linguistically competent manner.

Aside from the moral arguments that can be made, we can no longer continue nor afford to underserve our Hispanic older adults. It’s as simple as looking at the numbers. The Census tells us Hispanic elders are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. senior population, in a nation that is also growing older. Today, there are approximately three million Hispanic older adults, but by 2050 that number is expected to increase almost six-fold to 17 million.

As the study points out, these new demographic realities demand a readjustment in policies, services, and programs targeted to Hispanic older adults. It also underscores the importance of having a solid national network of community-based organizations (CBOs) that serve Hispanic seniors locally. Sadly, the study indicated a scarcity in these CBOs.

Part of NHCOA’s work is to develop and expand a network of organizations serving Hispanic elders to ensure each community receives the specific resources, services, and programs needed to meet their needs. Over the last several years, we have successfully provided capacity building, outreach, and programming to CBOs from different parts of the country that touch the lives of millions of Hispanic older adults.

However, there is a great need of federal and private funding to replicate these efforts. These investments in infrastructure development would enhance CBOs’ capacity to deliver services at the local and national level, therefore improving the well-being and outcomes of our growing Hispanic older adult population.

Many may say, ‘Why now? We can afford to push it aside a bit longer’ or ‘There are greater and more important issues at hand.’ My response is, ‘today for you, tomorrow for me,’ because with the dramatic growth our aging population is experiencing, tomorrow isn’t that far away at all.

To read the HIP report, click here:


El Consejo Nacional Hispano de Personas Adultas Mayores (NHCOA, por sus siglas en ingles), como dice el nombre, se enfoca en temas relacionadas a los hispanos adultos mayores, pero nuestro trabajo no se limita a eso solamente. Entendemos que para que podamos abordar y resolver acertadamente los temas de mayor impacto para los adultos mayores hispanos, tenemos que incluir a sus familias y cuidadores en todo lo que hagamos, ya fuera investigaciones, políticas públicas o programas. También hay un aspecto de nuestro trabajo que nos requiere siempre tener la vista puesta en el futuro dado que el envejecimiento es un tema que nos afecta a todos sin importar estatus, género, profesión o credo.

Hace poco, tuve el orgullo de representar a NHCOA y aquellos quienes servimos en el lanzamiento de un reporte nuevo de Hispanos en Filantropía (HIP, por sus siglas en inglés) llamado “The Latino Age Wave: Examining the Future of Aging in the United States” ( Este estudio importante realizado por Global Policy Solutions hizo un gran descubrimiento: tenemos una infraestructura de agencias para la tercera edad que recibe fondos federales, pero que no alcanza brindarle servicios a los adultos mayores hispanos al cien por ciento debido a carencias en el sistema.

Lo bueno es que tenemos una tremenda oportunidad para cambiar esto, dado que el Congreso pronto está previsto a reautorizar la ley de los Adultos Mayores Estadounidense (en inglés, Older Americans Act), bajo la cual se contemplan todos los servicios que el gobierno subvenciona para los adultos mayores. El Congreso tiene que hacer lo necesario para que los adultos mayores hispanos y todos las personas de la tercera edad- afro americanos, asiáticos y de las islas pacíficas, indio americanos y nativos de Alaska y personas de la tercera edad homosexuales, lesbianas, transexuales y bisexuales- sean atendidas con las competencias culturales y lingüísticas indicadas.

Aparte de los argumentos morales que se puedan plantar, no podemos seguir ni darnos el lujo de darles un trato inmerecido a nuestros adultos mayores hispanos. Es tan sencillo como examinar las estadísticas. El Censo nos indica que los adultos mayores hispanos conforman el segmento de la población de la tercera edad de mayor crecimiento en un país que también está envejeciendo. Hoy en día hay casi 3 millones de adultos mayores hispanos, pero en el 2050 esta cifra se multiplicará por seis, llegando a los 17 millones.

Como señala el estudio, estas nuevas realidades demográficas nos obligan a reajustar las políticas públicas, servicios y programas para los adultos mayores hispanos. También resalta la importancia de establecer una red sólida de organizaciones de base comunitaria (CBOs, por sus siglas en inglés) que atienden a los hispanos de la tercera edad en sus comunidades. Tristemente, el reporte indica una falta de CBOs de ésta índole.

Parte del trabajo de NHCOA es desarrollar y expandir la red de organizaciones trabajando en pro del adulto mayor hispano para que cada comunidad tenga los recursos, servicios y programas precisos para satisfacer sus necesidades. En los últimos años, hemos tenido mucho éxito brindando capacitación continua, alcanzamiento comunitario, y desarrollo de programas a CBOs en distintas partes del país que afectan las vidas de millones de adultos mayores hispanos.

Sin embargo, hace falta muchos fondos federales y privados para multiplicar estos esfuerzos. Estas inversiones en el desarrollo de infraestructura expandirían la capacidad de los CBOs en prestar servicios a nivel local y nacional, mejorando así el bienestar y las circunstancias para la creciente población de adultos mayores hispanos.

Muchos dirán, ‘¿Por qué ahora? Podemos esperar un poco más’ o ‘Hay otros temas más importantes que debemos resolver.’ Pero mi respuesta es, ‘hoy por ti, mañana por mí’ porque con el crecimiento rápido de nuestra población envejeciente, el mañana ya no está tan lejano.

NHCOA Statement on Walmart Foundation’s Support of the Salud y Bienestar Diabetes Control and Prevention Program

Washington, DC – 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 caregivers— made the following remarks regarding Walmart Foundation’s support of the organization’s signature culturally and linguistically and age sensitive health and wellbeing program, Salud y Bienestar, which educates Hispanic older adults, families, and caregivers on how to prevent and/or manage this chronic disease:

“Type 2 diabetes is one of the most serious public health issues our country currently faces— particularly its impact on diverse older adults— which is why NHCOA has been working to delay the onset of this disease within the Hispanic community through research and the development of a public health intervention called Salud y Bienestar (Health and Wellbeing).

“Salud y Bienestar is unique in that it addresses the challenges Hispanic older adults face in terms of diabetes prevention and management through culturally and linguistically appropriate and age sensitive approach.

“NHCOA thanks the Walmart Foundation for recognizing the severity of the issue and for supporting Salud y Bienestar so it can continue helping to improve the health and wellbeing of Hispanic older adults, families, and caregivers across the country.

“It is our collective hope to contribute in closing the widening gap that is hindering Latino seniors from getting the information, access, and resources they need to effectively manage or prevent this chronic condition, and NHCOA is proud to work alongside the Walmart Foundation to achieve this goal.”


Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee, NHCOA President and CEO Dr. Yanira Cruz to address conference participants

Washington, DC — The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), the leading non-profit organization in the nation advocating on behalf of Hispanic older adults for the last 30 years, heads into its second day of conference by continuing the dialogue on the healthcare reform and its impact on Hispanic older adults, the fastest-growing older adult population in the nation. Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee will address participants at a breakfast titled A Conversation on Healthcare: Our Nation’s Priority.  The breakfast will focus on the healthcare issues most important to Hispanic older adults and their caregivers, including access to health care, plans for reducing health disparities through Public Health programs, workforce shortages, and the need for culturally, linguistically, and age-sensitive care. She will also discuss ways to work collectively and with other communities to ensure the healthcare system meets the needs of all aging Americans.

In the afternoon, NHCOA President and CEO Dr. Yanira Cruz will highlight the state of older Hispanic adults in the U.S., including areas in which the Latino community has made great progress. Given that the minority older adult population is expected to increase by 219% and will represent 25.4% of the U.S. elder population by 2030, she will provide practical suggestions on how to collectively build a brighter future not only for the Latino community, but for the entire nation.

The NHCOA annual conference is uniting more than 600 community leaders, Hispanic older adults, community-based organizations, lawmakers, academics, and key shareholders in Washington, DC to spark national dialogue on the issues impacting aging Americans, particularly those in the Hispanic community.


WHO:      Kathy Greenlee  Assistant Secretary for Aging

Dr. Yanira Cruz, President and CEO, National Hispanic Council on Aging              (NHCOA)

WHAT:     Breakfast – A Conversation on Healthcare: Our Nation’s Priority Keynote: Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee

Luncheon – Working Together For a Common Aging Agenda

Keynote: Dr. Yanira Cruz, President and CEO NHCOA

Keynote addresses by Assistant Kathy Greenlee  and NHCOA President and CEO Dr. Yanira Cruz on health care and the Hispanic aging agenda

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

WHEN:     8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

12:00 noon – 2:00 p.m.

Washington Marriott at Metro Center, Grand Ballroom ABCD

WHERE:    775 12th St. NW, Washington, DC

National Hispanic Council on Aging Urges Congress to Strengthen Older Americans Act to Reflect Nation

NHCOA Conference Sept. 28-29 “Working Together for a Strong Golden America”

National Hispanic Council on Aging Urges Congress to Strengthen Older Americans Act to Reflect Nation’s Diversity Time to Modernize the Act

WASHINGTON (Sept. 28, 2010) – Congress should revchPubNameize the Older Americans Act and update it so it’s inclusive and reflects the nation’s diverse aging populations, the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) said as it takes the issue to Capitol Hill during its annual conference Sept. 28-29, 2010, in Washington, DC.

NHCOA is the premier national organization dedicated to understanding the needs and securing the wellbeing of Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers. Its conference – “Working Together for a Strong Golden America” – will be Sept. 28-29 at L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, 480 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC. Hispanics are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population.

“Aging Issues of Ethnically Diverse Older Adults” will be the subject of NHCOA’s congressional briefing 8:30-9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29, at the Capitol Visitor’s Center.

“The Older Americans Act, which Congress passed in 1965, is a critical resource for our growing aging population, many of whom would be isolated from society without this funding,” said NHCOA President & CEO Dr. Yanira Cruz . “What we need now is to incorporate the full breadth of older adults from all diverse segments of our society – and make it more relevant to today’s society.”

Joining NHCOA at the congressional briefing will be NHCOA counterparts: Michael Adams, JD, Executive Director, Services & Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE); Doua Thor, MSW, Executive Director, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) and Karyne Jones, M.P.Aff., MPA, President and CEO, National Caucus and Center on Black Aged (NCBA).

Said Adams of SAGE, “As we approach the revchPubNameization of the Older Americans Act, it’s essential that we highlight the many barriers that continue to face our country’s diverse elders, including LGBT older adults. I am pleased to join my colleagues from the diverse aging field to ensure that policymakers address the needs of all of our nation’s older adults.” Said Dua Thor of SEARAC, “About a third of Hmong elders, a quarter of Cambodian elders and a fifth of Laotian elders live in poverty, compared to 8 percent of the total population.  In light of these tough economic times, the time is ripe for a conversation on how we can work together to ensure that older Americans, no matter their background, are able to live their lives with dignity. Our network of Southeast Asian American elders is proud to be represented among this diverse coalition working together to seek opportunities to overcome the historical challenges facing our communities.”

Said Jones of NCBA, “Everyone speaks to the importance of inclusion, however universally we continue to forget the groups of people with the biggest stake in our future—minorities.  Regardless of race or ethnicity, African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Pacific Islanders, and LGBT people have earned the right to be included in the strategy and decision making process of all current and future legislation that impacts their lives. Amending the Older Americans Act to include more minority-specific opportunities ensures inclusion for everyone, it speaks to the democratic process, and more importantly it provides an opportunity for minorities to influence the direction of their destiny.”

To improve access for historically underserved communities, NHCOA says the OAA should:

  • Target services to people with the greatest need
  • Give first priority for services to protecting the well-being of people who have low incomes or who are otherwise vulnerable
  • Provide age-sensitive, culturally and linguistically competent services
  • Preserve basic necessities for older Americans, including employment and training, income (Social Security, Supplemental Security Income), housing and health care (Medicaid, Medicare)

“We urge the incorporation of the diverse aging network as part of the Older Americans Act vehicle of organizing, coordinating and providing community-based services for Hispanic older Americans and their families,” Cruz said. “Many of our members are living alone, lack transportation, have limited English proficiency and rely on local community-based organizations and senior centers for comfort and services.”

Cruz said that these local community-based organizations rely on private grants and donations and that their resources are very limited, especially when serving such a large population.

The OAA is a major support system for older adults to remain at home. It vchPubNameizes various services – such as home delivered meals, transportation, shopping assistance, caregiver support and congregate meals – through a national network of agencies on aging and provides employment and training. “The traditional aging network must be expanded to offer appropriate services to our diverse populations,” Cruz said. “We recommend establishing a new Title to serve diverse older adults. This will facilitate specific culturally and linguistically appropriate services through grants to nonprofit organizations.”

According to NHCOA’s grassroots assessments, the most pressing issues affecting Hispanic older adults and their families include:

  • Limited ability to obtain needed medications and health services
  • Having Social Security as their only income
  • Limited access to reliable transportation
  • Having to choose among getting health care, medication or food
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Lack of information on resources available to them
  • Discrimination because of their ethnicity and language
  • Not being viewed by society as community leaders or community members
  • Inability to express their concerns at meetings that are conducted in English and do not have interpreters
  • Lack of information on accessing resources that they are entitled to, such as SSI
  • Lack of community centers to meet with other Latino seniors

The nation’s older population will double by 2030 and make up 20% of all Americans or 71.5 million people. Many people 80 or older have one chronic disease, and those 85 or older have two. These seniors have difficulty doing everyday tasks, including cooking meals. To remain independent and living at home, older Hispanics rely on services provided by social workers and local community centers for the elderly, where they also obtain meals, socialization and participate in recreational activities.

NHCOA will address these issues and others, including proposals to raise the Social Security eligibility age, and the implementation of the affordable care act at its conference.

“The OAA should be revchPubNameized and ensure that Latino-serving community-based organizations receive funding so they can connect with the people who need these services the most, older Hispanics who are among society’s most vulnerable,” said Raul Yzaguirre, Chairman of NHCOA’s Board of Directors.

National Hispanic Council on Aging Urges Nation to Support Social Security and Other Programs

“NHCOA Conference Sept. 28-29 “Working Together for a Strong Golden America”

National Hispanic Council on Aging Urges Nation to Support Social Security and Other Programs That Protect the Future of Older Americans

WASHINGTON (Sept. 28, 2010) – Social Security, in conjunction with the Older Americans Act and the nation’s new healthcare reform law, is a key element in protecting the future of older Americans, the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) said as it prepares to tackle the issue at its annual conference Sept. 28-29, 2010, in Washington, DC.

NHCOA is the premier national organization dedicated to understanding the needs and securing the wellbeing of Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers. Its conference – “Working Together for a Strong Golden America” – will be Sept. 28-29 at L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, 480 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC. Hispanics are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population.

“Caring for our parents and grandparents in their golden years is a moral obligation,” said NHCOA President & CEO Dr. Yanira Cruz.

President Obama’s bipartisan Commission on Debt Reduction will make recommendations by Dec. 1 on ways to keep Social Security financially sound for future generations. On the table: raising the age for Social Security eligibility and cutting benefits.

“Raising Social Security eligibility will affect Hispanics disproportionally,” Cruz said. “Many of our nation’s Hispanics are in physically demanding manual jobs. Because of that, the degree of injuries Hispanics receive is greater so they are forced to retire early. This is a double-whammy for Latinos.”

The full retirement age has already increased from 65 to 66 and is scheduled to rise to 67 in 2022 – a 13% benefit cut. But now some are proposing that it go to 70, which would be a 33% cut. Some justify that three-year difference because the life expectancy has risen and assume that people can easily work later into life. That’s the case for people who need Social Security least: affluent, white-collar workers.

The conference speakers include Professor Eric Kingson, PhD, of the Syracuse University School of Social Work and co-director of Social Security Works. “No matter how you dress it up, raising the Social Security retirement age is a benefit cut. And it’s especially harmful to low-wage and younger workers, groups in which Latinos are overly represented,” Kingson said. “The pundits, politicians and economists telling everyone they have to work longer and that Social Security needs to be cut don’t seem to understand how detrimental raising the retirement age is to many groups. Low-income working people are more likely to have serious employment and health problems in their later work years.”

NHCOA will address these issues and others in briefings, including:

  • 8:30- 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, “Status of Hispanic Aging Issues.”With Jeff Cruz, Associate Director, White House Office of Public Engagement; Edwin Walker, JD, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Program Operations, Administration on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Professor Kingson; Anna Wadia, MPA, Program Officer, The Ford Foundation; Leticia Miranda, Associate Director, Economic and Employment Policy Project, National Council of La Raza
  • 10 a.m.-noon Tuesday, Sept. 28, “Economic Security Trends for Hispanic Families.” With Ralph Yaniz, MBA, Regional Vice-President Midwest, AARP; Rene Perez Rosenbaum, PhD, Associate Professor, Michigan State University; Nancy Altman, JD, Co-Director, Social Security Works; Rigo Saborio, MSG, President & CEO, St. Barnabas Senior Services.

Social Security benefits for retired workers and dependents are modest but critical, averaging about $14,000 annually. They keep millions out of poverty, especially elderly women. Almost half of Hispanic older adults (49%) are entirely dependent on Social Security for their retirement vs. 20% of non-Hispanic white older adults. Without Social Security, 53% of older Hispanics would live in poverty. “The proposed changes also threaten Hispanic families, who count on parents and grandparents to help out economically and socially,” Cruz said. “In the long run, cutting Social Security benefits is a misguided and short-sighted plan and a danger to our society.”

Also critical to this population: The OAA, which is a major provider of social and nutrition services to older Americans and their caregivers.

“RevchPubNameizing the Older Americans Act gives us a great opportunity to review the policies and programs in place to see if they are relevant to our nation’s changing demographics, from baby boomers to our multicultural society,” said Jorge Lambrinos, Edward R. Roybal Institute for Applied Gerontology, University of Southern California Los Angeles. “We have an opportunity to modernize senior housing and senior centers so they are more relevant to the needs of today’s older Americans.”

Hispanics have the most to benefit from healthcare reform, NHCOA says. Because Hispanics have the lowest insurance rates of any U.S. population, they get less preventive services and have less access to quality healthcare. Lack of insurance is a key factor in Hispanics suffering disproportionately from a number of serious but preventable chronic conditions, including diabetes, cancer and obesity.

Many Hispanic older adults expressed being confused about the benefits they will receive with the new healthcare law. They believe that the new healthcare law will decrease the number of services available to seniors, when in reality, the new law contains several critical improvements in Medicare coverage. For example, the new law does not cut Medicare benefits. Quite the opposite: it adds new preventive health visit coverage, gradually closes the gap in prescription drug coverage (aka the “doughnut hole”), boosts reimbursement rates to primary-care physicians and improves long-term care coverage for seniors with disabilities who live at home. That means older Hispanics will no longer have to choose between buying food and buying medicine. Closing the doughnut hole will save the average older American more than $700 next year and over $3,000 by 2020.

Said Cruz, “The enactment of healthcare reform brings hope to millions of Hispanics and their families who have been unable to access quality, affordable healthcare. We’re meeting at this conference to encourage and inspire each one of us to be engaged and be part of the solution to build a strong golden America.

Input from Los Angeles Community to Inform Advocacy Efforts on Key Legislation

Input from Los Angeles Community to Inform Advocacy Efforts on Key Legislation FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 9, 2010 Contact: Johnny Hernandez, 1-866-488-7379 Los Angeles, CA — The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), the nation’s premier organization serving Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers will hold its third Healthy Living Regional Meeting in Los Angeles, California, on August 10.  This is the third and final regional meeting in a series of NHCOA community forums and Empowerment and Civic Engagement Trainings held across the country to listen to community concerns and gather information directly from Hispanic older adults, their families, their caregivers, and their service providers.  This information on health and economic security in the Hispanic community will form the basis of NHCOA’s advocacy effort in Washington, DC, to make sure that the needs of Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers are taken into account in the RevchPubNameization of the Older Americans Act, and to inform the implementation of the new healthcare reform law.

NHCOA’s efforts in advocacy and through the Healthy Living Regional Meeting are designed to ensure that health reform works for those who need it most – older persons with multiple health problems, and their family caregivers – and that services focusing on diverse aging populations, including Hispanics, are incorporated in the revchPubNameization of the Older Americans Act and key legislative proceedings. The comments from the meeting will shape the recommendations that will be submitted to policy makers and Congress as they move forward with the revchPubNameization process and implementation of the new healthcare reform law.  NHCOA thanks Sanofi Aventis, Walmart, and Lilly for their support of this Regional Meeting.  Media Advisory

WHAT: NHCOA Healthy Living Regional Meeting

WHEN: Tuesday, August 10, 2010, 9:00 – 3:00 pm

WHERE: The California Endowment Center (The Center for Healthy Communities), 1000 N. Alameda Street, Los Angeles, California 90012