In just a few short years, the U.S. will have more seniors than youth under 18 for the first time in history. Yet today, our seniors face a host of difficulties that prevent them from aging with dignity, the best possible health and security. This is especially true of Hispanic older adults and other diverse seniors. Twenty percent of Hispanic older adults live in poverty and many more live in economic insecurity, often marked by hunger and a lack of quality housing and medical care. In addition, many Hispanic seniors lack access to long-term services and supports and are victims of financial abuse, neglect and fraud.
The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) has documented these issues in a data and testimonial driven-report: the Status of Older Adults: Recommendations from the Field. The report will be released on October 28, 2015 during NHCOA’s Capitol Hill Briefing at the Cannon House Office Building, Room 340 from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. at NHCOA’s Capitol Hill Briefing.
The report was developed over a period of months as part of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging process and synthesis of a literature review, the results of NHCOA’s regional meetings held in Miami, Dallas and Los Angeles, and a quantitative survey study. The research leading up to the development and release of the report was designed to ensure that Hispanic older adults, their families and caregivers had a voice in the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. The report responds to the White House Conference on Aging themes: 1.) Retirement Security: 2.) Long Term Services and Supports; 3.) Healthy Aging and 4.) Financial exploitation, abuse and neglect.
The White House Conference on aging is of great significance because it takes place every 10 years, and it is a catalyst for the national policy agenda in reference to aging for the next decade. This year, the White House Conference on Aging was particularly historic because it concurred with the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security and the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The NHCOA Capitol Hill Briefing will consist of two parts. The first will be a briefing held by Dr. Yanira Cruz, NHCOA President and CEO, where the Status of Hispanic Older Adults: Recommendations from the Field will be released. During this part of the event, attendees will have the opportunity to hear first-hand testimonials from older adults and aging experts. Following the release of the report, NHCOA will host a series of Capitol Hill visits by NHCOA community leaders, who will present the report to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and serve as advocates for the establishment of a committee representing Hispanic elders. The event will bring together leaders, directors and professionals working with older adults, as well as members of Congress, national decision makers and Congressional staffers.
The Capitol Hill Briefing will:
- Present the Status of Hispanic Older Adults: Recommendations from the Field highlighting a series of national recommendations compiled from three states with large Hispanic populations.
- Focus national attention to the critical issues faced by Hispanic older adults, their families and caregivers.
- Advise the members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus about the Status of Hispanic Older Adults: Recommendations from the Field and advocate for an aging committee.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.