> Inclusion & Diversity
Inclusiveness is crucial to growing and sustaining successful community partnerships. Receiving input from a broad array of older adults and their caregivers not only helps ensure equality in decision making, but leads to long term care and supportive services that are more responsive to a community’s diverse needs.
To accomplish that goal, it is especially important to seek the participation of older adults and caregivers from traditionally excluded groups. These groups historically have been defined by characteristics such as race and ethnicity, low income, lack of English language proficiency, and sexual or affectional orientation.
Many factors, however, can challenge a partnership’s efforts to embrace diversity and build productive relationships. Partnerships should be prepared to identify—and address—misunderstandings that may arise when people of distinctly different cultures and backgrounds work together. Moreover, partnership members need to be mindful of the impact that discrimination, stigma and a history of exclusion has had on stakeholders within traditionally excluded groups.
The information offered here is designed to assist communities in their efforts to develop and sustain inclusive partnerships by:
- helping partnerships create synergy among organizations in, and members of, the community, and
- fostering active participation by traditionally excluded older adults and caregivers.
A wealth of information and resources are offered here, including:
- Guiding Principles and practical resources for achieving an inclusive partnership;
- details about the ways people are grouped into Diversity Categories and the implications;
- information about the Demographic makeup of the older adult population in the United States;
- details about Health & Diversity among older adults—specifically background information on the health and functional status of various groups; and
- information and resources that partnerships can use to pursue Cultural Competence in providing long term care and supportive services to a diverse population of older adults.
The information within Inclusion & Diversity was developed by John Capitman, Ph.D. and Humberto Reynoso-Vallejo, Ph.D.
Building inclusive community systems of support for older adults requires attention to their diverse needs and desires. Such attention comes, in part, from developing attitudes and practices that recognize and value differences within a community and within a partnership. This section presents four goals which include resources, strategies and techniques for implementing them.
The ways that society labels diverse groups of people, often according to skin color, religious/cultural practices, sexual orientation, and so on, has an impact on peoples’ life opportunities and health. Understanding how society categorizes diverse groups is crucial for those providing services to older adults and their caregivers. This section discusses race and ethnicity, gender, social class and other factors that are often used to label groups of people.
The demographic makeup of the U.S. population age 65 and older has changed greatly over the last 40 years, becoming much more diverse. These changes are shaping the design and implementation of long term care and supportive services policies and programs. This section offers service providers, policy makers and community members an overview of these changes.
Health & Diversity
The experience of oppression has an impact on people’s health and ability to function, as well as on the delivery of health care, long term care and supportive services. Partnerships can educate their members and communities in order to create an understanding of the factors that cause poorer health and quality of life among disadvantaged groups. This section discusses the disparities in health among disadvantaged groups, as well as the general status of their health and ability to function in daily life.
This section presents information and resources for developing an awareness of the beliefs, needs and preferences of older adults from diverse cultural groups and the implications for providing care and services that are culturally appropriate. Also discussed are the care and service provision challenges presented by other older adult groups including recent immigrants, people with disabilities and people with mental illnesses. Cultural competence initiatives can help to reduce health disparities among disadvantaged groups and improve interactions between providers and clients.