Asian American Elders in the Twenty-first Century

Asian American Elders in the Twenty-first Century: Key Indicators of Well-Being

Ada C. Mui
Tazuko Shibusawa
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Asian American Elders in the Twenty-first Century
    Book Description:

    Asian Americans make up a diverse ethnic group in the Unites States and are among the fastest growing population of adults sixty-five years and older. Most Asian Americans are either first-generation immigrants who grew up in the United States or individuals who joined their American families later in life. Yet despite the significant presence of Asian Americans in this country, adequate resources tracking their health over the life span are surprisingly scarce. With this book, Ada C. Mui and Tazuko Shibusawa provide necessary data on the psychosocial well-being of Asian American elders. Focusing on the six largest Asian American groups (Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese), they address issues relating to methodology, physical and mental health, intergenerational relationships, informal support, acculturation, stress, economic well-being, productive aging, and the utilization of services, such as Medicare, food stamps, physician care, home health care, community-based outreach, and emergency rooms and hospitals. By linking research findings to policy, practice, and program recommendations, Mui and Shibusawa create a vital resource that can be used in multiple disciplines, including social work, public health, nursing, geriatric medicine, social policy, and other helping professions. No other text offers such a comprehensive and up-to-date portrait of the unique challenges facing Asian Americans as they age.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50974-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. 1 UNDERSTANDING ASIAN AMERICAN ELDERS: Historical, Political, and Sociocultural Contexts
    (pp. 1-19)

    ASIAN AMERICANS ELDERS comprise one of the fastest-growing groups of ethnic elders in the United States. According to the U.S. Census 2000, more than eight hundred thousand Asians aged sixty-five and older reside in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau 2001). The population of Asian American elders increased by 78 percent between 1990 and 2000, and this number is projected to increase to close to 7 million by 2050 (Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics 2004; U.S. Census Bureau 1990, 2000). In contrast to Asian Americans, the non-Hispanic, white elderly population is projected to grow by only 74 percent in...

    (pp. 20-44)

    THE EMPIRICAL DATA for this book were derived from the Asian American Elders in New York City (AAENYC) survey conducted in 2000 (Mui et al. 2006; Ryan, Mui, and Cross 2003). This chapter discusses the research methodology used in that survey and the demographic characteristics of the six Asian elderly groups studied. Data from the U.S. Census 2000 and the New York City Census 2000 on these six national origin groups are also presented as a basis for comparison (U.S. Census Bureau 2000, 2004).

    In 2000 the Asian American Federation of New York (AAFNY) and its research team conducted the...

    (pp. 45-66)

    THERE IS NO QUESTION that a positive healthy condition is critical for older people to remain independent and continue to contribute to their families and communities. Health prevention, health maintenance, and health promotion programs are extremely important for older persons to have better health status. And of note, health prevention is much cheaper than intervention, both economically and emotionally (Mui and Kang 2006). The World Health Organization (WHO) has been leading the global initiatives in the promotion of good health and physical well-being among all ages, especially elders, for the last two de cades (WHO 2004).

    WHO defines health as...

  8. 4 INDICATORS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING: Depression and Life Satisfaction
    (pp. 67-86)

    PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING is referred to in the literature as subjective well-being (Mui, Choi, and Monk 1998). In recent years psychological well-being has been used as a key indicator in research on successful aging. Elders are considered to be aging well when they have the strengths and capacities to undertake various tasks and cope with life stresses (Ryff 1999). Highlighting strengths and ability leads to an understanding of the way elders remain resilient in the face of physical, psychological, and social changes as they age. It is evident that the definition and factors associated with psychological well-being may vary from one...

    (pp. 87-105)

    AS NOTED IN CHAPTER 1, the majority of Asian Americans aged sixty-five and older was born outside the United States (U.S. Census Bureau 2000). Over 90 percent of Filipino, Indian, Korean, and Vietnamese elders and 86 percent of Chinese elders in the United States are foreign born (table 5.1). It is also notable that many elders from Asia immigrated after reaching late adulthood. Over 40 percent of Vietnamese and Indian elders and over 30 percent of Chinese, Filipino, and Korean elders living in the United States immigrated after the age of sixty (table 5.2). A large portion of the participants...

    (pp. 106-126)

    THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER DISCUSSED the norms and structure of traditional families, presented the extent to which elders endorsed these values, and examined the factors associated with these beliefs. This chapter examines the elders’ social and family relationships by assessing their social support network and intergenerational exchanges.

    The two major components of social relationships are their structure and function. The structural aspect, or social networks, is conceptualized as the existence or the number of relationships (Berkman 1985). The size of social networks is important, especially for older adults, because support is more likely to be available at any given time when...

  11. 7 FORMAL SERVICE UTILIZATION: Community-Based, In-Home, and Health Services
    (pp. 127-143)

    AS WE CONTINUE TO EXAMINE the help-seeking behaviors of Asian American elders, it is important to remember that our sample had a higher level of physical and mental health needs than the general older U.S. population, as discussed in chapters 3 and 4. Recent government publications reviewing the effects of race, culture, and ethnicity on health status and service utilization found that the health care system underserved racial and ethnic minorities (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [USDHHS] 2001). As a group, Asian American elders are much poorer than their white counterparts, but they are represented far less than...

  12. 8 PRODUCTIVE AGING: Grandparent Caregiving and Volunteering
    (pp. 144-160)

    THE MAJORITY OF OLDER ADULTS remain active by helping family members and engaging in volunteer work. Active involvement in one’s social surroundings is considered crucial to the psychological well-being of older adults (Wilmoth 2004), as leaving the labor market and having no family responsibilities undermines their social integration. Contributing to family and society by providing formal and informal help offers elders opportunities to maintain social roles and interpersonal connections. The MacArthur Study on Aging concluded that engagement in meaningful activities contributes to health, satisfaction with life, and longevity, and potentially reduces physical and emotional illness in later life (Rowe and...

  13. 9 CONCLUSION: Implications for Practice, Policy, and Research
    (pp. 161-172)

    THE AGING OF THE WORLD’S population is a concern for all generations in all nations, all sectors (private, public, nonprofit, business, medical, and social services), and all communities. The dramatic increase in the aging population profoundly impacts the lives of individuals, families, and societies. Governments and local communities must respond to this demographic shift by developing infrastructures and services to meet the needs of their aging members and enable them to “age in place.” “Elder-friendly communities”—a term that refers not only to physical surroundings but also to environments that are responsive to elders’ social and psychological needs—are based...

    (pp. 173-194)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 195-208)