Older Latinos in the U.S.: Mental Health Issues

Aging is a fact of life and it is frequently accompanied by declining health, but it does not always have to be that way. The aging adult is frequently expected to manifest deficits in cognition, and these deficits can be part of a primary brain degenerative process, a psychiatric illness, or physical disease. These conditions either individually or combined interact with each other, meaning that the presence of one can make the other one worse. Any of these conditions along with other social factors, such as the environment where one is born, lives or works, ethnicity, income, support system, level of acculturation, and the degree of health literacy can facilitate or obstruct access to care and eventually influence health outcomes. This presentation will explain the interaction of these conditions in the Latino elderly, and the known barriers coming from the health system and health disparities perspective. The presentation will close with ideas of what you can do at home while working with the Latino elderly, and with a short video of an older Latino woman who will explain her desire to live in spite of her illnesses. With the Latino aging population growing in the US, it is our turn to promote health messages that resonate with their needs and preferences, such as optimism and acceptance, connectedness, independence, and self-worth.

July 2, 2019
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