Tag Archives: Seniors

U.S. Feature | Homeless Seniors

The Changing Face of American Homelessness

A bulge of homeless baby-boomers has been making its way through the nation’s aging pipeline, with more than 300,000 homeless people in the U.S. now over the age of 50. From the recessions and zero-tolerance drug policies of the ’70s and ’80s to contemporary wage stagnation and affordable housing shortages exacerbated by unchecked urban gentrification, many who came of age during the social tumult of the ’60s and ’70s have struggled to maintain their footing in the nation’s rapidly evolving cities. For many, chronic illness and disability have led to homelessness or struck as a result of it, prematurely introducing aging issues into an already vulnerable population. As a result, homeless seniors have found themselves at the center of an epidemic that is increasingly understood to intersect with other national problems, including weak safety nets for seniors, people with disabilities, and the poor.

As national conversations framed through the lens of personal responsibility, urban threat, and moral failings compound the shame many experience in precarious situations, the aging homeless community has found itself not only marginalized on the streets, but within the discourse of homelessness in general, framed as it too often is in terms of workforce reintegration and social re-engagement. With the elderly homeless population expected to more than double by 2050, The New York Times recently examined the structural problems facing the aging homeless population and challenges affecting the development of effective long-term solutions.

Old and on the Street: The Graying of America’s Homeless” (The New York Times)

Additional coverage:
Fast-aging homeless population may lead to public health crisis” (The San Francisco Chronicle, March 2016)
Solving The Growing Health Needs Of America’s Elderly Homeless” (ThinkProgress, February 2016)
‘We Shouldn’t Have To Live Like This’” (NPR, March 2013)

Aging and Housing Instability: Homelessness among Older and Elderly Adults (National HCH Council, September 2013)
Homelessness Among Elderly Persons (National Coalition for the Homeless, September 2009)

National Alliance to End Homelessness
National Coalition for the Homeless
National Health Care for the Homeless Council

(Image Credit: Monica Almeida/The New York Times)

U.S. Feature | People with Disabilities

The New Segregation

Long-term care for people with chronic illnesses and certain physical and cognitive disabilities has become an important civil rights battle ground over the last two decades. While media attention has focused on government responses to civil rights issues including anti-LGBT legislation and racial inequalities in the criminal justice system, the U.S. Department of Justice has opened more than 50 investigations into what it reports has been the segregation of people with chronic illnesses and disabilities in nursing facilities. Effectively institutionalizing people with disabilities, nursing facilities have detached an estimated 250,000 from economic opportunity and social life, despite a 1999 Supreme Court ruling that people with disabilities should only be placed in nursing facilities if medically necessary. The New York Times analyzes the push for home-based care and the DOJ’s active investigations into violations of protections secured under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Supreme Court’s 1999 decision.

South Dakota Wrongly Puts Thousands in Nursing Homes, Government Says” (The New York Times)

Feds: Relying On Nursing Homes For Those With Disabilities Not OK” (Disability Scoop)
Letter on results of investigation into South Dakota’s healthcare practices (U.S. Department of Justice)
Senate HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin Releases Report Showing ADA’s Promise of Integration is Not Being Met for Many Americans with Disabilities” (U.S. Senate press HELP release, July 2013)

(Image Credit: Thinkstock, via Disability Scoop)

Interregional Feature | Holocaust Survivors

Finding Healthcare Justice for Aging Holocaust Survivors

With the youngest among them now in their 70s, Holocaust survivors are facing late-in-life issues compounded by the traumas from the policies of targeted persecution just over seven decades ago. Dementia has returned some to the nightmares of their youth, while social isolation, physical ailments, and other mental health issues stemming from the violence of the period have left many with high care needs as they age.

In the U.S., home to more than 100,000 survivors (most Jewish), politicians have begun calling on the German government to do more for victims, arguing that current caps on assistance leave many survivors struggling. While reparations have expanded since the 1951 establishment of the Claims Conference, questions over who shoulders the burden for late-in-life care have yet to be resolved. The increasing needs that come with aging have reignited debates about Germany’s obligations to those its government systematically disenfranchised, impoverished, and subjected to physical and mental anguish that outlived the liberation of the final concentration camp.

As Holocaust Becomes More Distant, Survivors’ Needs Intensify“(The New York Times)
Federal grants to assist Holocaust survivors draw praise, concern” (The Sun-Sentinel)
Harrowing story of the Holocaust survivors still fighting for a dignified life 75 years on” (The Daily Mirror)
Romanian Holocaust survivors aging without benefits” (Ynetnews, July 2015)
Holocaust survivors deported from France can now apply for reparations” (The Washington Post, November 2015)
Germany to Pay 772 Million Euros to Survivors” (Der Spiegel, May 2013)

(Image Credit: Kacper Pempel/Reuters, via The New York Times)

Global Perspectives | Queer Seniors

In an effort to highlight geographically diverse conditions for minorities and underrepresented communities, Outlas is gathering and featuring publicly available personal accounts, documentaries, features, and other video content centering the experiences of marginalized communities around the world. Join us at the Outlas YouTube channel, where two playlist series highlight diverse stories from across the platform:

  • Intersections
    Featuring the experiences of multiple minorities and the effects and subcultures of compounded marginality, from Muslim women to queer people with disabilities
  • Contexts
    Featuring regionally specific content highlighting how geopolitical contexts shape identity from place to place, including people of African descent in East Asia, atheists in Africa, and beyond

So without further ado, Outlas presents…

Intersections: Queer Seniors

The first Intersections playlist is an evolving collection devoted to the experiences of queer seniors. Queer seniors face a range of community-specific vulnerabilities, from housing and services discrimination to ageism in the broader LGBT community. As the generations that survived the AIDS epidemic that eviscerated their ranks grow older, they age into physical, psychological, and financial health issues that disproportionately impact LGBT elders. But attention to vulnerability alone fails to highlight the vibrant cultures and histories of queer elders. Videos in the collection also tackle sexuality and aging, advice for younger generations, and the tremendous historical memory that queer seniors hold in need of preservation.

Featured content comes from countries including the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia and includes the stories of queer women, people of color, drag performers, and transgender individuals. Unfortunately, the limited geographic scope of available content is a reminder that many if not most queer seniors around the world remain in the closet, located in regions unfriendly or even inhospitable to their visibility. We will continue to add more dynamic stories of queer seniors (particularly from non-English-speaking parts of the world) where appropriate and available. Outlas is always open to suggestions!

View the full playlist on YouTube and stay tuned for more collections featuring the experiences of other underrepresented groups around the world.

China News | Incarcerated Seniors & Veterans

China announces rare prisoner amnesities ahead of WWII anniversary
  • Four groups, including seniors and war veterans, will receive amnesty.
  • The decision marks only the eighth time China has granted incarceration relief in Communist Party history.
  • Those convicted of violent crimes such as rape, murder, or terror will remain incarcerated.

Read the full story at Reuters.

Azerbaijan News | Dissident Seniors

Senior Azerbaijani rights activists sentenced to prison terms despite ailing health
  • Leyla Yunus, 59, and her husband Arif, 60, were sentenced to eight-and-a-half and seven-year prison terms, respectively, after on charges including tax fraud, illegal entrepreneurship, and treason.
  • Rights advocates argue that the couple were targeted for their human rights advocacy, with numerous other activists and journalists having been recently imprisoned as well.
  • The Yunuses suffer from diabetes, hypertension, and kidney problems, worrying family and friends about their health prospects while incarcerated.

“If there were irregularities in [the] way Yunus ran her groups, the government could have pursued them through noncriminal measures. … But instead the authorities arrested them and went directly to criminal charges, despite their age and ill health.”

Read the full story at BuzzFeed News and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

(Image Credit: Facebook, via BuzzFeed News)

Australia News | Seniors & People with Disabilities

New housing development in New South Wales looks to ease later-in-life care for people with disabilities with aging caretakers
  • The Pathways Project is a development providing housing units for people with disabilities and their aging family caretakers in a specially designed community.
  • The development allows families to continue to choose their disability services independently through the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
  • Ground broke on the project in February and is set to be completed by November, with its first residents by the end of the year.

“We really want to share what we’re doing because if it means there will be more accommodation for people who are ageing with a disability then that’s a wonderful thing.”

Read the full story at Australian Ageing Agenda.

(Image Credit: The Pathways Project, via Australian Ageing Agenda)