Housing Project Takes On Seniors’ Health

(By – David Gorn, Kaiser Health News)

Hui-Zhen Li doesn’t speak English, but here she can speak freely. She’s standing amid more than 150 Chinese seniors, all perched on metal folding chairs or slouching in wheelchairs, packed wall to wall in the main lobby of the Hotel Oakland.

Li is 89 years old, she knows her own mind, and she’s not afraid to speak it.

“Don’t think you are useless because you’re old,” Li tells the group, admonishing them with a raised finger. “I am 89, and I am not useless. It’s important to always think about your health. You have to always use your brain or you will start to lose memory.”

The gathering at this low-income housing project in downtown Oakland, California, is called Neighbors Helping Neighbors. It’s part of an ambitious plan to help elderly residents, many of them Asian immigrants, take control of their health — in part by joining at least one of 14 groups intended to enhance their physical and mental well-being. Read more…

 

Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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