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Disability rates are down among older Americans, and more are managing daily life on their own with devices. But racial and ethnic gaps persist.
Experiencing racism damages a person’s health by triggering the release of stress hormones and a chain of biological events that cause premature aging, which in turn increase the risk of chronic disease.
Unequal Health Care Access and Quality Contribute to U.S. Racial Health Disparities Among Older Adults
Older Black adults are less likely than their white peers to have private insurance and more likely to rely on Medicaid or Medicare as their only health insurance.
As they age, Black adults experience more rapid decline in the body’s ability to recover from stress or damage, with social and economic factors contributing to this decline.
Black Americans’ higher rates of chronic conditions and disease such as obesity and diabetes, which are linked to fatal COVID-19 infections, may underlie life expectancy differences.
Socioeconomic inequality and racism-related stress are at the root of Black-white health disparities, requiring policies and interventions targeting both economic inequality and exposure to high levels of stress.
Black adults who have not finished high school are at much greater risk of dementia than other groups.
While non-Hispanic Black adults make up 10% of the population ages 65 to 74, they account for 18% of COVID-19-related deaths in that age group.