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Asian American Elderly Population

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Asian American Elderly Population

Today, California is home to 40 percent of all Asian Americans. The 2000 census showed that the majority of Cambodian (84, 559), Laotian (65,058), Hmong (71,741), and Vietnamese (484,023) refugees to the United States settled in California. Although Southeast Asians have been in California for a relatively short time, they have become well established. Entrepreneurs own businesses, such as the market and bakery pictured here, and many have entered the middle class.

Asian American groups whose history in the United States goes back many more years are also thriving. Currently, there are 980,642 Chinese Americans, 918,678 Filipino Americans, 345,881 Korean Americans, 314,819 Asian Indian Americans, and 288,854 Japanese Americans living in California.

During WWII thousands of young men and women enlisted or were drafted from Chinatowns, Japantowns, Manilatowns and other small communities across the country. They would serve honorably a country that had, for most of the previous century, robbed, murdered, burned, lynched, taxed, and excluded its pioneers while building much of the political economy of the West on the strength of Asian labor. For Japanese Americans, difficulties culminated with their mass deprivation of constitutional rights and wholesale incarceration of their West Coast communities.

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and researchers at the Oakland Museum, 13,499 Chinese American men fought in the armed forces. Approximately 75 percent in the U.S. Army and 25 percent in the Navy.

The Administration on Aging (AOA), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, estimates that 72.1 million people will represent the 65-year-old and older demographic by 2030, more than twice the number in 2000. For Asians and Pacific Islanders, the numbers are no different.

According to the AOA, the population of Asian, Hawaiian and Pacific Islander seniors increased from 0.8 million to 1.4 million between 2000 and 2010, while it projects their numbers to be 3.9 million by 2030.

Up and down the Golden State, various organizations provide care and services that are culturally sensitive for Japanese Americans. Many of these organizations have recently adopted strategies to promote “Healthy Aging,” which addresses the increasingly complex needs that American seniors face today. The Healthy Aging program, a major project of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is studying the state of aging in the U.S. to provide information to allow seniors to live longer and healthier lives.

ACC Senior Services (formerly known as The Asian Community Center of Sacramento Valley) is dedicated to enriching the lives of seniors and caregivers. We promote the general welfare and enhance the quality of life of our community by offering specially designed, culturally sensitive services, programs and classes for older adults.

ACC, an independent living community, features three locations with a total of 166 units for an independent living community of adults 62 and older. Sacramento’s Nikkei and Chinese American community leaders formed the organization, which annually serves 3,000 people through multi-lingual programs.

ACC Senior Services also provides workshops and classes on aging, as well as support groups for caregivers, including those who are caring for loved ones who have Alzheimer’s. Yee explained that it was vital to offer evidence-based programs, such as those from the AOA to help seniors manage chronic disease and gain aid from the government. The ACC hires Asian instructors so that culturally relevant examples are given out during presentations.

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