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Aging and Diverse Communities

This video features Yolanda Gotier, the Senior Living Health & Wellness Navigator of The Center for African American Health, Denver, Colorado.

We are sharing our Voices on Aging videos. These three videos provide insight into the issues impacting the lives of older adults in Colorado and their community.

Aging is hard, add a language barrier and limited access to the services that most of us need and it is a struggle. In Colorado, we need more programs designed to meet the needs of our aging Diverse Communities.

The Center for African American Health is focused on and committed to improving the health and wellbeing of the African American community in Colorado. This includes serving as a resource for the older adults in relation to affordable housing, food, and healthcare. Yolanda Gotier, MSW and Senior Living Health and Wellness Navigator believes that, “People should not have to leave their community to get the resources they need.” Older adults are involved in their churches, senior centers and they have friends/neighbors who check on them. They should have the appropriate resources available to them, where they are most comfortable, in their community.

Another challenge faced by many of our older adults in diverse communities is the language barrier to obtaining citizenship. Lydia Dumam, Options Counselor for Refugee Programs and Community Resources Navigator for DRCOG pointed out that elder immigrants “… want to be part of this community but many feel too old to learn a new language.” They cannot ask for help; they don’t know where to find resources and many feel like they have no options.

When older adults have access to healthcare, they can be contributing, active members of the community. Many older immigrants do not have social security or Medicare. They cannot afford private coverage, so they do not go to the doctor for the care they need. Alejandra Lerma, Case Manager for the Latino and Refugee Community, DRCOG is focused on helping elder immigrants learn the language and become citizens so they have access to the resources they need to be independent, older adults.

In short, the picture of aging in our diverse communities is upsetting. Imagine growing older and not knowing where you belong. Thanks to some wonderful organizations, we are working to make it better. Our aging community, regardless of where they are from, deserve the opportunity to be relevant, to be respected members of the community and to age with grace and dignity.