Interventions for a
Dolores Gallagher-Thompson, Rita Margrave, Ladson Hinton, Patricia Árean, Gayle Iwamasa, and L. McKenzie Zeiss
In the United States at present, a dramatic increase is occurring in the proportion of both the oldest-old (those aged 80 and above) and elders of color, who represent a wide array of culturally, racially, and ethnically distinct groups. According to relatively recent census data, growth in these two categories is expected to be tremendous in the next 20 to 30 years. In fact, it is expected that more than 25% of the population in this country will be age 65 or greater within the next decade or so as the baby boomers advance; and that the overall proportion of non-Hispanic Whites will drop from the current 90% to approximately 60% of the total U.S. population by the year 2030. Hispanic/Latino and Asian American elders are expected to increase at the most rapid rates, while growth in the African American and Native American populations is expected to be much slower (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1992). What this means for clinicians and researchers working with older adults is that there will be more of them to treat; they will generally be older, due to improved health care that is prolonging life (along with increasing access to health care and related insurance amongst all older people); and they are more likely to be non-Caucasian (or non European American, if that term is preferred) than is the case at present. For these reasons, it is imperative that health care personnel begin to appreciate the tremendous heterogeneity of these groups and its implications for clinical and research practice.