Adult Day Services and the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging

Through a partnership between the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging’s (NAPCA) National Resource Center on AAPI Aging and the National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA), a technical assistance webinar will be available to help NADSA members support a growing population of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) older adults. NAPCA will provide an overview of AAPI aging, highlighting strategies for Adult Day Service programs to develop cultural and linguistic competence, and best practices for increasing access to Adult Day Services for this diverse minority group nationwide.

Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial group in the United States, largely due to international migration. According to the US Census, between 2010 and 2030, the AAPI older adult population is projected to increase by 145%. Over 66% of Asian American and 20% of Pacific Islander older adults are immigrants. More than 2 out of 3 Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, Asian Indian, Bangladeshi, Burmese, Indonesian, Nepalese, Pakistani, Taiwanese, and Thai older adults are immigrants.

For many AAPI immigrants, quality of life is strongly influenced by acculturation (especially within the family context), English language proficiency, and social relations. Family relationships have a direct impact on many AAPI older adults’ health and well-being. Most AAPI families have gaps in acculturation, finding AAPI older adults without sufficient resources to acculturate.

Lacking social connectedness, AAPI older adult immigrants may become isolated. Isolation can have profound impacts on AAPI older adults’ health. Recent research found prolonged isolation can adversely affect health, increasing one’s risk for early mortality, and being the equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

New research from Georgia State University found that many Chinese older adult immigrants come to the United States to reunite with their children, but that over time, they experience a shift in their needs, going from reliance on their children to a heightened awareness of their own desires and yearning for independence. Obtaining this independence from their children, Chinese older adults must form a new construct for their sense of home. Researchers found adult day care centers to be a critical link for Chinese older adults in the development of this new construct, helping older adults expand their social networks and develop interests and hobbies. Through expanded social networks, AAPI older adults are at a decreased likelihood of becoming isolated and suffering adverse health outcomes.

According to the MetLife National Study of Adult Day Services , in 2010, 9% of adult day center participants were Asian. Adult day care centers should anticipate serving more AAPI older adults into the future, facilitating social connectedness and ultimately, increasing health promotion and quality of life.

This post was authored by Heather Chun for the National Adult Day Services Association Spring 2017 Voices e-newsletter.