AIDS and An Aging-Prepared CommunityHome » News » Point of View » 2008 Archive » AIDS and An Aging-Prepared Community
Arthur Y. Webb
President and Chief Executive Officer
AIDS and An Aging-Prepared Community
Readers of this column are certainly familiar with the problem of AIDS and aging, something that we’ve written about here over the past year. In 2004, we at Village Care of New York launched a concerted effort to raise awareness of the growing numbers of those over 50 who are living with HIV/AIDS.
Village Care, as a provider of care and service networks both for older adults and for those who are HIV-positive, is in a unique position to address the problem of AIDS and aging.
Our Network of AIDS Services started some of the very first care and treatment programs here in the metropolitan area starting in the 1980s, and our programs for older adults date back to the mid-‘70s.
Our founders – concerned community residents – “rescued” a failed proprietary nursing home and created the not-for-profit Village Nursing Home. That proved to be foundation upon which our SeniorChoices service array was built, as well as the impetus to respond a decade later to AIDS. Those same individuals joined by more from the community were first-hand witnesses to the devastation of the AIDS epidemic and set out to do something about it.
Today, as much as a third of HIV diagnoses in New York City are among those 50 and older, yet because of ageism and stereotypes, society tends to believe that HIV infection affects only younger people.
We’ve been doing as much as we can to change that perception.
One of the aspects of New York City’s changing demographic landscape that we’ve also talked about here is having an aging-prepared community, where we identify and support those seniors who are lonely and isolated, and who are at risk for increasing disability. We talk about preparing the community for aging because the population curve is shifting to a significantly higher proportion of older persons. And we already know that a disproportionate number of older New Yorkers live by themselves.
Being an aging-prepared community also means making sure that we’re engaged in efforts to address the needs of seniors with HIV infection, and that we promote prevention activities aimed specifically at an older population. We need to reject stereotypes of older people that ignore that they too can engage in risky behaviors such as unprotected sex and injecting drug use.
In the most recent issue of our quarterly magazine, New Horizons, we take a look at AIDS and aging with a series of articles that examine many of the aspects of the disease and how it’s impacting an older generation, as well as what’s being done about it.
Among important areas covered:
First-hand reports from AIDS survivors, who talk about how the disease has affected them over the years, and how HIV can complicate problems associated with the natural aging process.
A discussion about what seniors need to know about their risks, with some frank and open advice to older adults, who are just as likely, and maybe even more so, to engage in risky behaviors. They need to be educated about the dangers too.
A look at how Village Care has risen to the challenge of HIV and aging and how our programs and services have responded to the needs of those who are over 50.
There’s also a profile of a 63-year-old woman and her courageous personal fight with AIDS for the past 23 years, and how she has used her own experiences to help other women.
Also in the current issue of New Horizons you’ll find information about how Village Care and SAGE are working together to serve New York City’s LGBT community. Joining together with SAGE is an exciting opportunity for Village Care and this new collaboration is effectively using the strengths of the two organizations and improving access to care that is respectful of diversity and of individual dignity.
If you would like to read these articles, you may click on the link to the current issue of New Horizons. Or, you can call 212.337.5668 and we’ll put a copy of the magazine in the mail to you.
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- 2008 Archive
- Itâ€™s Time to Count Your Blessings and â€œDo Goodâ€
- St. Vincentâ€™s Decision All About Good Government
- AIDS and An Aging-Prepared Community
- Prevalence of Elder Abuse is Disturbing
- Facing Challenges for Enlightened Care in an Urban Environment
- Aging and HIV â€“ Things You Should Know
- St. Vincentâ€™s Needs Oâ€™Toole Land
- Getting Old and Getting Along
- Lots of Ideas, Not A Lot of Strategy
- Serving Seniorsâ€™ Growing Needs Requires Partnerships
- An Aging-friendly Community Requires Affordable Housing
- As an Epidemic Ages, So Do Its Victims