This chapter provides new data and a critical look at the comparative assessment of different ethnic groups’ overall levels of savings given their different experiences in the labor market. It focuses on how employers differentially treat minorities to their disadvantage with a multiple regression analysis that identifies the independent negative impact of being a minority on retirement sponsorship and pension plan participation. Minorities have lesser access to employer-sponsored retirement plans because they are particularly affected by the substitution of defined benefit (DB) plan coverage for less secure and less comprehensive defined contribution (DC) plans. Social Security is an important source of retirement income for all Americans. Minorities are disproportionately employed in lower-paid industries and occupations, which have lower rates of retirement account coverage. Qualitative research and interdisciplinary collaborative studies of minority retirement behavior have emerged.
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- Go to chapter: What Does Knowing About Genetics Contribute to Understanding the Health of Minority Elders?
This chapter discusses the identification of individual differences in health behaviors and health status among minorities. Sickle cell disease (SCD), a genetic disorder, may serve as an optimal model for understanding issues of aging in minority populations. SCD is an important model of multifactorial conceptualization of genetic-based chronic disease among aging populations. Generally, molecular genetic methodologies are called to mind when people consider the role of genetic factors in health and disease. Behavioral genetic methods will be particularly useful if one begins studying minorities from the perspective that there is significant heterogeneity within populations of minorities. Conceptual and methodological discussions of heterogeneity within minority populations are particularly timely given the changing sociodemographic features of ethnic/racial populations related to health disparities. Socioeconomic status and education have been found to be important variables associated with the development of chronic illness.
This chapter focuses on the following topics: demography, gender, age at diagnosis/onset of cardiovascular disease (CVD), Medicare usage, work and retirement, social support, social context and neighborhoods, ethnography of families, qualitative research, and social policy. These topics constitute some of the key areas that should be the focus of future research on the sociology of minority aging. The chapter provides a rich description of trends in the ethnic and racial composition of older cohorts to illustrate the dramatic changes that have taken place in the United States in the past century. The rising costs of health care and the increasing older minority population, additional reform will be needed to maintain the sus-tainability of the program. Additional work examining within-race group differences is key to understanding minority aging issues given the large amount of cultural diversity in the United States.
- Go to chapter: Introduction: Psychology—Rising as a Discipline to Meet the Challenges of an Aging, Increasingly Diverse Society
Introduction: Psychology—Rising as a Discipline to Meet the Challenges of an Aging, Increasingly Diverse Society
This chapter presents an illustration of the complexities involved in studying ethnic and racial influences on psychosocial processes and how they are intimately tied to physical outcomes in later life. It focuses on psychology as a discipline, minority aging research during the last several decades has revealed the need for multidisciplinary and intersectional conceptual and research approaches. The chapter also focuses on the age, gender, socioeconomic, cultural, and racial and ethnic graded influences on life course development that eventuate in unequal burdens of psychological and physical health morbidity and mortality for certain groups in late life. No section on psychology could be complete without a discussion of religion and spirituality among racial and ethnic minorities. Generational processes are clearly implicated in ideas about the cyclical nature of poverty and health behaviors that are intricately linked with environmental factors and social influence.
This chapter examines the Older Americans Act (OAA) through the prism of the coming nexus of aging and ethnic/racial diversity. It explains that the OAA can serve as a foundation for building a home- and community-based set of services for all older adults and persons with disabilities and for addressing aging in the 2lst century. The OAA is the primary federal program providing a host of services that enable older persons and their families to live in their homes and communities with a measure of dignity and independence. The OAA, Administration on Aging (AOA), and aging network today provide five major categories of services: access to social and legal services, nutrition, home- and community-based long-term social and supportive services, disease prevention and health promotion, and vulnerable elder rights protections. The OAA and the AOA remain secondary players in national agenda setting for an aging population.
This chapter focuses on informal caregiving among minority groups. It also focuses on context of caregiving and discuss the various specific challenges caregivers of minority older adults face. The chapter examines some of the specific caregiving interventions tailored for families of color and discuss the implications for practice, policy, and research. Medical advances and greater longevity point to healthier and longer lives for many, but both formal and informal caregiving remain a concern as individuals age and develop conditions that require care. Caregivers are often able to realize the positive aspects of caregiving when they are not struggling with financial or social support challenges. Despite the vast literature on caregiving in general, research pertaining to the needs and experiences of racial/ethnic minority older adults and their caregivers is limited, particularly for American Indians, Pacific Islanders, specific Asian American and Latino subgroups, and religious minorities groups such as Muslim Americans.
- Go to chapter: Minority Aging Before Birth and Beyond: Life Span and Intergenerational Adaptation Through Positive Resources
This chapter discusses current thinking in the field of social support and social relationships, and physical and mental health among older racial and ethnic minorities. Social relationships are an important predictor of health and psychological well-being across the life course. Many minority older adults will face the continued challenges of declining functional status due to physical and mental health conditions over the course of their lives. Most empirical studies on social support among older racial and ethnic minority adults explore the association between social support and both physical and mental health. The wealth of studies on social support among minority older adults has much to offer with respect to understanding the correlates of emotional support and patterns of assistance. The biological mechanisms explaining the link between social support and physical health outcomes have been largely unexplored among older racial and ethnic minority groups.
This chapter examines racial and ethnic differences in disability in the United States with a focus on their patterns, trends, and determinants. Disability is responsible for massive social and economic costs to individuals, families, and health care systems. Racial and ethnic differences in health are one of the most widely studied topics in U.S. health disparities research. The risk of disability among older Asians is an understudied area, despite the growth of this population subgroup in recent years due to increased volume of immigration from Asia to the United States. There is an ongoing interest in measuring and understanding the patterns and causes of racial/ethnic differences in disability in the United States. Rising obesity may play an important role in the findings for Hispanic women and for the trend in disability for all race/ethnic groups.
- Go to chapter: Structural and Cultural Issues in Long-Term Services and Supports for Minority Populations
This chapter examines the history of long-term services and supports (LTSS) programs to document their racially and ethnically disparate impact, and explain the current research on the access and quality of LTSS used by older adults in communities of color. LTSS are a set of health and social services delivered over a sustained period to people who have lost or never acquired some capacity for personal care. The high costs of LTSS have led a smaller number of low-income older adults to consume a large share of Medicaid expenditures. Cultural beliefs about family responsibility to care for older adults as well as attitudes toward the use of formal and/or public health and long-term care services can shape older adults’ use of LTSS. The coming sociodemographic shift of older minority adults calls attention to other structural and cultural issues that facilitate or inhibit the appropriate use of LTSS.