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Preparing for the last phase of life — being a Latino Elder

By Judi Bonilla
Latino Elders

Did you know? Hispanic Americans represent the fastest growing segment of the Aging population.

It’s true however when was the last time you talked about aging with your familia? Perhaps at a Quinceañera, the event that celebrates leaving childhood and entering the first stage of womanhood.

For others it was receiving a driver’s permit that symbolized the first step into independence. The age milestones then rush by your 21st, 30th, and 40th birthdays, each meeting with fanfare. But, then something happens — the celebrations seem to stop.

Not anymore. Welcome to the 21st century. Aging is a part of living and from the moment you’re born you are Aging!

Make the time now to prepare for your next big role — Hispanic and Latino Elder.

HealthKnow your health risks.
For Hispanics and Latinos the top 5 health risks are: Cancer, Heart Attack, Accidents Stroke and Diabetes. The Affordable Health Care Act provides you with the resources to live a longer and healthier life. Now is the time to work with a healthcare provider and begin a health management program. Take the first step and find out what your risk factors are for these diseases. Use that knowledge to adapt a healthier lifestyle for yourself and loved ones.

HousingWhere you live effects how well you age.
How close are you to the services you need and the places you enjoy spending your free time? What’s within walking distance from your current home? Begin prioritizing what you want to be close to and where you want to spend your time.

TransportationMany of us will outlive our ability to safely drive.
Researchers say, men became dependent on other drivers for an average of six years, and women an average of 10 years. The translation, at sometime you will not be driving. How will you get around? Having the discussion now with your familia and finding resources while you are driving yields peace of mind as you prepare for driving retirement.

RelationshipsAmigos, familia, and family of choice. These are the people who make our lives rich. The importance of our relationships and social network are a significant factor in aging well. In retirement make a conscious effort to develop new friendships and affirm your connection to those who bring a sense of well-being to your life.

WorkPart-time, full time, and volunteer work are critical for aging well.
Hispanics and Latinos entering la tercera edad (third stage of life) can use this time to use their experience to propel themselves and their loved ones forward. To lead by example. Returning to school, taking up a new interest or perhaps serving their community are ways to share wisdom with the next generation.

La tercera edad, while enjoyed by Latino Elders, can benefit all.

Follow #LatinoElders hashtag to join in the conversation.

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