Chapter

Ethnogeriatrics

pp 3-17

Date:

Why Ethnogeriatrics Is Important

  • Jeannine S. SkinnerAffiliated withMeharry-Vanderbilt Alliance, Vanderbilt University Medical Center School of Medicine
  • , Lauren DukeAffiliated withMeharry-Vanderbilt Alliance, Vanderbilt University Medical Center School of Medicine
  • , Consuelo H. WilkinsAffiliated withMeharry-Vanderbilt Alliance, Vanderbilt University Medical Center School of MedicineMeharry Medical College Email author 

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Abstract

The population of adults aged 65 years and older is one of the fastest growing segments of the United States (U.S.) population and will more than double between the years of 2010 and 2050 from 40.2 million to 88.5 million [1]. In parallel to the aging of the population, the U.S. is also becoming increasingly more racially and ethnically diverse. In 2010, ethnoracial minorities made up 20 % of the older adult population; this number is projected to reach 42 % by 2050 [2]. This shift in the demographics of the U.S. population has broad implications for the health of diverse elders and geriatric health care delivery. Minority elders experience greater disparities in morbidity, mortality, and disability, which are related to several factors including ethnoracial differences in socioeconomic factors, cultural factors, and health care access and delivery. Given the growing racial and ethnic diversity of the older population and the recognized impact of culture on health, the topic of ethnogeriatrics is both timely and important. In this chapter, we define and explore key terms and concepts relevant to the study of ethnogeriatrics, discuss factors implicated in disparities in health outcomes among older adults, and highlight some challenges to providing health care to an aging and diverse population.

Keywords

Race Ethnicity Culture Health disparity Health care