Nearly six million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. Eighty percent of people living with dementia live at home or with family. And there are more than 16 million care partners of people living with dementia. These statistics point to why communities that are supportive of people with dementia and their care partners — what we call dementia-friendly communities — are so important!
As the song goes, “Home is where the heart is.” Whether it’s a long-time residence or a more recent one, home is a place of comfort and memories—and it is pivotal to supporting connections to family members, neighbors, friends, places of worship, community groups, familiar shops and health providers. As the COVID crisis hit and stay-at-home directives were enacted, many of us have been spending a lot of time at home. But, for many older adults, without adaptations, their homes are often hard to navigate.
It’s that time again! By law, every 10 years the U.S. Census Bureau counts every household and person living in the United States. We all know that Census data is important, but for AAA staff and other professionals in the Aging Network, Census data is particularly important because it serves as the basis for the distribution of funding for many federal programs, including the Older Americans Act.
I am a proud Latina! This is a result of my parents and my Latino background. Born as a third generation U.S. citizen, I grew up in a poor, lower working-class neighborhood. I thank my mother Gloria, 93, and my late father, Ventura, for the life lessons, pride in our Mexican culture, and heart-felt love for our family and community that they embedded within me. Our neighbors were mostly of Mexican decent and their trade was copper mining.
Medicare coverage is a wonderful benefit and an essential part of a healthy aging plan for all older adults. But picking the right Medicare option—coverage that works for you is just as important. As someone who works closely with older adults, I have seen older adults whose bank accounts were depleted because they picked the wrong Medicare coverage. I have met people who, unfortunately, selected the wrong plan to meet their health needs and suffered as a result.
Every day health care professionals work to make improvements, to drive better health outcomes, and to create high quality and cost-effective care for their patients. Clinicians and integrated care professionals can work diligently to improve clinical settings, develop new diagnostic tests or improve treatment, but patient engagement will always be a central factor to patient health and the overall success of the health care system.
America’s population is not only aging rapidly; it is rapidly becoming more diverse. Statistics from the Administration for Community Living (ACL) indicate that the number of older adults from minority populations is expected to rise by 217 percent in the coming decades—a staggering fact that should make us all ask ourselves how prepared our agencies are to meet the needs of a population of older adults that is growing in its diversity. For this reason, in 2017, n4a created a Diversity Task Force to take a closer look at the importance of diversity and create a plan to increase the cultural competence of the Aging Network. This blog post is one of the results of the Task Force’s work.