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Baby Boomers of Color

Baby Boomers of Color: Implications for Social Work Policy and Practice

Melvin Delgado
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Baby Boomers of Color
    Book Description:

    Because researchers often treat baby boomers of color as belonging to one group, quality data on the individual status of specific racial populations is lacking, leading to insufficiently designed programs, policies, and services. The absence of data is a testament to the invisibility of baby boomers of color in society and deeply affects the practice of social work and other helping professions that require culturally sensitive approaches.

    Melvin Delgado rectifies this injustice by providing a comprehensive portrait of the status and unique assets of boomers of color. Using specific data, he grounds an understanding of boomers'financial, medical, and emotional needs within a historical, socioeconomic, cultural, and political context, resulting in tailored recommendations for meeting the challenges of a growing population. His research focuses on African American, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native American older adults and addresses issues of financial security, employment stability, housing, and health care, which are often complicated by linguistic and cultural differences. Rather than treat baby boomers of color as a financial burden on society and its resources, Delgado recognizes their strengths and positive contributions to families and communities, resulting in an affirming and empowering approach to service.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-53842-8
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
    (pp. IX-XIV)
  4. PART ONE Setting the Context

    • 1 Overview
      (pp. 3-14)

      THERE ARE NUMEROUS WAYS to determine the extent to which a society is “advanced”: such as the longevity of its citizens and/or the quality of life and respect they are shown in older adulthood (Cook & Hatzell, 2012; Ghilarducci, 2008). While medical achievements have greatly improved the former, the latter is still highly variable. It has been argued that quality of life for baby boomers is dependent upon three factors: adequate income (Hudson, 2010), quality health care (King et al., 2013; Olson, 2013; Powel, 2013), and affordable housing (Cook & Hatsall, 2012; Gonyea, 2005; Villa, Wallace, & Huynh-Hohnbaum, 2005–2006)....

    • 2 Two Perspectives on Baby Boomers
      (pp. 15-34)

      BABY BOOMERS OF COLOR CAN be best analyzed when contextualized within the current debate about baby boomers in general (White, 2013). Are boomers considered a national asset or a drain on our resources? More specifically, how will boomers impact Social Security and Medicare in the next twenty years as they retire and enter older adulthood (Papadimitriou, 2007)?

      It is this author’s view that baby boomers of color represent a vast and largely untapped resource in this country; a tremendous often overlooked source of economic, human, cultural, and social capital. However, it is difficult to consider the positive contributions of boomers...

    • 3 Baby Boomer Demographic Profile and Trends
      (pp. 35-46)

      DEMOGRAPHICS PLAY A DISTINCT AND influential role in helping to paint a picture of the multifaceted composition of this country, and particularly so in the case of baby boomers (Wilmoth, 2010). How demographic data get collected and interpreted depends upon a variety of factors, including the political lens through which they are viewed, as noted in the last chapter (Booth, 2006; Perry, 2009; Wray, 2006).

      Demographic data often fail to appeal to many professionals, because the numbers offered are rarely grounded within the stories of those they portend to describe; they are faceless. A statistical profile is just that, providing...

    • 4 A Demographic Focus on Baby Boomers of Color
      (pp. 47-56)

      BABY BOOMERS OF COLOR ARE generally not discussed in scholarly reports and publications; they are typically subsumed under the general rubric of “baby boomers,” making data difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, limiting the development of a comprehensive understanding of their status. Yet these data are important, particularly for social work and other helping professions that embrace diversity and cultural competence (Torres-Gil & Lam, 2012). This lack of data is a testament to their invisibility and results in challenges for developing policies, programs, and services that take into account their profiles.

      The socioeconomic status of boomers of color is significantly...

    • 5 Health Needs
      (pp. 57-82)

      HEALTH, REGARDLESS OF THE AGE group being discussed, is a complex topic with significant social-cultural considerations necessitating a multifaceted socioecological perspective. This chapter focuses on several different dimensions related to the health of the baby boomer cohort. Boomers of color will be highlighted whenever data are available, although, as mentioned earlier, such specific research is rare, making a nuanced analysis difficult. Yet a health portrait of boomers of color will emerge in this chapter.

      Buckley poses a series of questions that must be answered to meet the challenges posed by baby boomers: “The entry of the baby boomer cohort into...

    • 6 Financial Indicators
      (pp. 83-104)

      A 2012 NEW YORK TIMES editorial titled “The Road to retirement: The Recession and Its Aftermath Spell Insecurity and Hardship for Millions of Americans” sums up well the status of millions of baby boomers as they face retirement and is the focus of this chapter: “The crux of the problem is that as traditional pensions have disappeared from the private sector replacement plans have proved woefully inadequate. Fewer than half of the nation’s private sector workers have 401(k) plans, and more than a third of households have no retirement coverage during their work lives. . . . Nor do most...

  5. PART TWO Cultural Assets

    • 7 Baby Boomer Assets: A CONCEPTUAL FOUNDATION
      (pp. 107-123)

      PART 1 OF THIS BOOK provided a plethora of government data and research on boomers that can be classified as deficit oriented. It provided a statistical portrait of boomers, including those of color, with a particular focus on health and finances and the multi-faceted sociopolitical-economic challenges they face as they transition to retirement and beyond. All of part 1 stressed a “deficit perspective.” This viewpoint casts boomers of color as helpless and/or dependent, as albatrosses around their necks of families, communities, and society. The silver tsunami metaphor conveys images of destruction, upheaval, and calamity. Clearly, the central message is negative...

    • 8 Family-Focused Assets
      (pp. 124-134)

      ASSETS, AS NOTED IN CHAPTER 7, can be found in all spheres of life. Cultural and other assets take a wide variety of forms, allowing for community needs and resources, or individual circumstances, to dictate which approaches have saliency for a particular client, community, or boomer cohort.

      The family can be a particularly powerful asset in the lives of baby boomers of color. The crucial role of the family in communities of color, as well as an expectation that family members will play major caregiver roles in the lives of older adults, is well documented in the literature. The family...

    • 9 Neighborhood/Community-Focused Assets
      (pp. 135-150)

      CONTEXT HAS PLAYED A PROMINENT role in shaping social work practice and research. Hardcastle, Powers, and Wenocur (2011) compare the importance of context to the importance of location in the selling of real estate: “Location, location, location,” is to real estate what “context, context, context,” is to social work practice.

      Neighborhoods and communities represent key elements of the way in which context is conceptualized in social work. The profession has a long and distinguished history of embracing neighborhoods and communities as the focus of interventions, the context from which to understand behaviors of individuals, particularly those who are undervalued by...

  6. PART THREE Implications for Policy, Practice, and Research

    • 10 Classification of Asset-Driven Interventions
      (pp. 153-158)

      THIS CHAPTER’S PRIMARY FOCUS IS on helping practitioners classify examples of innovative efforts at the outreach, engagement, and assisting of baby boomers of color, with an emphasis on utilization of cultural assets. The previous chapters on family and community assets provided the reader with an appreciation of the range that can be found within these two arenas. Determining when and where to undertake these types of initiatives requires a community assessment.

      Asset-driven interventions stress the role of empowerment and participatory democratic principles through partnerships between baby boomers of color and human service organizations. Further, asset-driven efforts also undertake community capacity...

    (pp. 177-186)

    AN EPILOGUE PROVIDES AUTHORS WITH opportunities to raise issues that remain either unresolved or are particularly controversial for the profession as we embrace an assets paradigm toward boomers of color. Some of these issues emerged through the process of writing the book. However, others were predictable and, based on daily events in the country, painfully obvious.

    The field of gerontology must make a concerted effort to recruit, train, and support social workers that reflect the racial and ethnic composition of baby boomers of color. This necessitates development of special initiatives that recruit a cadre of social workers interested in this...

    (pp. 187-266)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 267-278)