AARP Research

The Health and Healthcare of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Age 50+

Access to health care, specifically health insurance, is a key factor in the health security of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), and the most important service or need indicated in current research. As with other areas, the data on health insurance show that AAPIs cannot be considered as one monolithic group. Although there are commonalities, there are many differences in regard to health insurance and other aspects of health as well.   

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This report is a compendium of research information and data on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) at midlife and older in relation to their health, drawing on Census data, AARP research, and external sources for information on the current state of health among Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders, especially those age 50 and older. Most of the recent information is on health insurance coverage, a critical factor in getting access to health care. There is a paucity of other information related to health. Most research is small or outdated, and national in-depth research as well as disaggregated data by Asian ethnic groups, especially in-language, is sparse as well. 

Key findings include:

  • The AAPI community’s health needs are similar for all AAPI ethnic groups, and vary in many important areas as well. The common needs are:
    • Support for/from family
    • Health insurance
    • Resources and tools to promote health and well being
    • Transportation and savings to access medical and dental services
    • Information on support and available services
    • In-language services for some ethnic groups
    • Culturally sensitive outreach and services for health care
  • There are additional needs for certain Asian groups as well, such as spiritual health that relates to the mental health of Filipino Americans, and to practice traditions that the less acculturated believe will contribute to their well-being.
  • The incorporation of cultural practices in health care services will contribute to overall well-being. Bilingual providers will be needed as well.
  • Finally, there is a desperate need for empirical as well as in-depth, national studies to learn more and understand today’s AAPI elders, the extent to which cultural attitudes remain and traditional practices persist; as well as the dynamics between AAPI cultural attitudes and practices in light of the changes brought by technology, exchange of information, advances in medical knowledge, and other 21st century trends.

For more information, contact Xenia Montenegro at xmontenegro@aarp.org.


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