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U of I Latino Age study opens conversation for better resources

Registered Nurse Rita Alba, right, gives Gustavo Hernandez the first dose of coronavirus vaccine at a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination site at the Bronx River Addition NYCHA complex, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York.

URBANA – A recent University of Illinois study that asks what positive aging means to Latino elders has opened a discussion on how to cater to their needs.

Lissette Piedra, professor of social work UI News Bureau

Positive aging consists of having a healthy lifestyle going into older age, according to U of I Social Work Professor Lissette Piedra.

More than 100 Latino residents, who are older than 70, were asked to define positive aging in the study. It shows that participants believe support from non-family members is important.

Piedra said this study is critical because it can help service providers create resources to cater to Latino elders.

“So we use the study as a beginning step to rethinking how can we give this population the information they need to age well, and as a starting place, figuring out what do they believe, is useful,” said Piedra.

She said the Latino older population is growing. Latinos tend to live longer compared to other ethnic groups. Yet, experience a decline in quality of life, such as being healthy.

Data from the Administration for Community Living shows that the Latino population aged 65 and older expect to increase to 94.7 million in 2060.

Picture of Luis Velazquez-Perez

Luis Velazquez-Perez

Luis Velazquez- Perez recently earned a B.S. in Journalism with a minor in Latina/Latino studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is now pursuing his Master's in Journalism. Aside as an intern at Illinois Newsroom, Velazquez-Perez has written for The Daily Illini, Cicero Independiente and C-U CitizenAccess. He aspires to be a bilingual public radio journalist

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