National Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 to October 15, recognizes the achievements of Hispanics who have influenced and enriched our nation.
The SCAN Foundation (TSF) celebrates the tremendous contributions of Hispanic older adults to society. With earnings of more than $1 trillion each year and tax contributions of more than $252 billion, Hispanic individuals not only add significant value to the U.S. economy but also support and help fund social services and infrastructure that ultimately benefit all Americans. In addition, Hispanic Americans – particularly Hispanic immigrants – continue to start and lead their own businesses at higher rates than the rest of the population.
We are proud to partner with experts serving this vibrant community and directly engage with Hispanic older adults to inform our vision and mission.
This year’s theme for Hispanic Heritage Month – Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation – inspires us to work hard to advance inclusivity and achieve true health equity. While Hispanics positively impact our nation, they continue to experience disparities and inequities. Research we funded at The LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston found significant disparities in older adults’ experiences based on race, ethnicity, income, and other demographic factors. One-third of older adults reported that their preferences were never or only sometimes considered, with Hispanics being twice as likely to say that the system does not account for their preferences. When preferences are ignored, older adults are more likely to forgo medical care and report lower satisfaction with their health care. We must work harder to ensure that person-centered care includes everyone’s needs.
TSF is committed to ensuring health equity and innovation are at the center of the aging experience. As such, a critical part of our mission is uplifting the voices and priorities of Hispanic older adults. Co-funding alongside the California Health Care Foundation, we are soon embarking on an effort with Community Catalyst to elevate the diverse voices of dual eligible beneficiaries (those who have both Medicare and Medicaid), including Hispanic dual eligibles. We will learn what matters most to them and determine which health care and nonmedical supports are unavailable in their communities. This effort will be an initial step in transforming the information infrastructure behind policy and practice decisions and producing better total health outcomes for diverse populations.
These and other grantee organizations are working with TSF to address inequities in the U.S. health care and long-term services and supports systems. Let us celebrate Hispanic voices this month and every month to achieve better aging for all.