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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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Human Services To The Spanish-Speaking Elderly
Program #

Health, Social Issues
Gloria Contreras
Jesse A. Treviño
Oct 10, 1977

Human Services to the Spanish-Speaking Elderly

Jesse A. Trevino discusses emerging issues for the care of the elderly in North American society, with particular focus on the often-hidden situation of Mexican American elderly. His work with the National Association for the Spanish Speaking Elderly, funded by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, has offices in Los Angeles, Albuquerque, Austin, Miam, New York and DC to assess and advocate for the needs of all Spanish speaking elderly groups. They collect various data regarding their average life span and the problems affecting them, including those related to health care. Because there is no scholarship on the Spanish speaking elderly, the organization is having to collect the data. They have found that – in counterpoint to the stereotype of the warm extended Mexican American family - many live in poverty, without health care and isolated from their families.

They also use census information, but Trevino argues that the Spanish speaking were miscounted and undercounted, partly because the surveys and interviews were only in English, and partly because census-takers had little experience working with Mexican Americans. He says that people in Washington are already devising new and creative ways to get a better count of the Spanish speaking population. Trevino says that information can help them detect the larger problems in the community and address them through leglistlation. His association is currently working in lobbying politicians to include specific language that deals with minority groups in policies affecting the elderly.

Trevino is also looking at the rate of aging and he notes that as the average life span extends, the proportion of the population at retirement age will increase. He hopes that American society will need to pay more attention to the problems and processes of aging, as they will be nearly one-third of the population by 2000.


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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