What Limits Access to Speech-Language Pathology Services in the Asian Elderly Community? It is well known that the culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) immigrant population in the United States is increasing. One of the subgroups, the Asian foreign-born elderly, comprises 15 percent of Asian immigrants and is rapidly growing (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). The increasing number of Asian and other immigrants results ... Article
Article  |   September 01, 2014
What Limits Access to Speech-Language Pathology Services in the Asian Elderly Community?
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • JiSu Sung
    Evergreen Rehabilitation, LLC, Queens, NY
  • Disclosure: Financial: JiSu Sung has no financial interests to disclose
    Disclosure: Financial: JiSu Sung has no financial interests to disclose×
  • Nonfinancial: JiSu Sung has no nonfinancial interests to disclose
    Nonfinancial: JiSu Sung has no nonfinancial interests to disclose×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Older Adults & Aging / Articles
Article   |   September 01, 2014
What Limits Access to Speech-Language Pathology Services in the Asian Elderly Community?
SIG 15 Perspectives on Gerontology, September 2014, Vol. 19, 87-99. doi:10.1044/gero19.3.87
SIG 15 Perspectives on Gerontology, September 2014, Vol. 19, 87-99. doi:10.1044/gero19.3.87

It is well known that the culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) immigrant population in the United States is increasing. One of the subgroups, the Asian foreign-born elderly, comprises 15 percent of Asian immigrants and is rapidly growing (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). The increasing number of Asian and other immigrants results in greater demand for research sensitive to cross-cultural issues. Issues related to serving CLD children and poor access to general medical services among minority individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP) have been broadly discussed. However, the understanding of CLD elderly clients with communication disorders and the disparity in access to specialized services, including speech-language pathology, have not been systematically studied. This fast growth in numbers of older Asian immigrants means speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are increasingly likely to encounter elderly clients of Asian heritage. Thus, all SLPs should be aware of potential challenges faced by this ethnic group, including cultural and linguistic barriers. In addition, there are other factors that may limit this population's access to speech-language pathology services: negative attitudes toward speech disorders and treatment, poor acknowledgment of the significance of speech-language pathology services, extremely limited numbers of SLPs with proficiency in Asian languages, and culturally and linguistically inappropriate interpreter services. The purpose of this article is to discuss how these components may impede timely access to speech-language pathology services in the Asian older immigrant population. This article will also show how SLPs can collaborate with Asian communities in order to facilitate culturally and linguistically sensitive services. In addition, as a clinician of Korean heritage, I provide anecdotal evidence based on my experience working with Asian elderly patients.

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