Tag Archives: elders

Resources and ideas for reporting on older adults’ use of marijuana

Photo: THC Photos via Flickr

Photo: THC Photos via Flickr

More than two-thirds of states (plus the District of Columbia and several territories) have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use.

But when it comes to its use by older adults, there are just as many questions as answers. Continue reading

Financial abuse of elders can wipe out savings, take away independence

Photo: jridgewayphotography via Flickr

Financial fraud is a business which is both pervasive and problematic. Older people can be at high risk for this form of elder abuse from many sides — trusted others, friends, family members, neighbors, colleagues, or caregivers.

It can be a crime of opportunity, or a well-planned, targeted scheme, and often goes undetected for months or even years. We all need to do our part to educate potential victims and help inoculate them about this issue, according to one expert at the recent AHCJ Journalism Workshop on Aging & Health. Continue reading

Diverse elders and caregivers need culturally relevant support

Despite the growing numbers of elders from different races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations, many of these older individuals are still marginalized when it comes to finding or accessing services and supports. That’s also true for those family members who care for them, according to a panel of experts at the recent Aging in America conference in New Orleans. Continue reading

Cultural perceptions of aging affect health status, caregiving

Images by Judy Baxter, NCVO and Steven Gray via Flickr.

Images by Judy Baxter, NCVO and Steven Gray via Flickr.

A new study out of the United Kingdom reinforces the influence that culture and societal attitudes can have on the health status of older adults. Psychologists from the University of Kent used data from the European Social Survey to ask respondents, all age 70 or older, to self-rate their health.

In countries where old age is thought of as signifying low status, participants who identified themselves as ‘old’ felt worse about their own health. The opposite was true in places where older people have a perception of higher social status. The researchers concluded that elevating perceived social status of older people would reduce negative connotations associated with old age and the negative impact on how healthy people felt.

The value different societies place on the elderly has a lot to with how they are cared for later in life, evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond explained in a recent TED talk. These effects in turn, influence public policy for global long-term services and supports. The International Federation of Social Workers recently noted, “Although older adults serve as essential resources to their communities, they face a great risk of marginalization.” Continue reading

Diverse sources key to richer, more nuanced stories

New America Media (NAM) just posted the 400th article on its Ethnic Elders Newsbeat page since we started it in late 2008. (NAM is a nonprofit news service working with 3,000 ethnic media in the United States.)

The 400th piece, “Caregivers Break the Silence: Japanese Americans at Risk,” is by Ellen Endo. A veteran editor and reporter in the Asian American media, Endo developed the story for her ethnic media organization, Rafu Shimpo in Los Angeles, under the MetLife Foundation Journalists in Aging Fellows program, a collaboration between the nonprofit NAM and the Gerontological Society of America (GSA).

But it could just as well have been stories by other MetLife Fellows, perhaps Cristina Fresquez-Pizarro’s piece for the Denver-based El Semanario on the high level of Parkinson’s among Latinos, or the next installment of Peter McDermott’s series on older immigrants aging in America for the Irish Echo in New York.

Not only has developing (and sometimes writing) such articles given me a full editorial spice rack of story angles on aging, but it has deepened my belief that reporters can enliven many stories – often in surprising and meaningful ways – simply by finding at least one ethnically diverse source. Continue reading