Hispanic Caregiver’s Challenges

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In the healthyhispanicliving.com post Who’s Taking Care of Our Viejitos? Latino Caregivers at a Glance  it is pointed out that Hispanic caregiver are mostly made of family members who lack the training to care for their own elderly patients.

Caregivers deal with their own struggles
A 2008 Hispanic Family Caregiving in the U.S. study revealed 36 percent of Hispanic households in the nation report having at least one family caregiver. This equates to an estimated 8,147,000 Latino caregivers in the U.S., with that number growing fast.

“That is a piece of good news — that we take care of our elders,” Cruz said. “We’re very proud of having our older adults in our spaces, and we value and honor them. We take caregiving as a role that we play that is part of who we are as a community and who we are as a family.”

But while this family structure is a  positive, one negative is the fact many families can’t or won’t rely on outside services that could potentially help them fill their caregiving roles in a more effective way. The result is financial and health strife for those left caring for Latino abuelitos, not to mention kids still living under the same roof….

“The problem is the lack of resources and education about the caregiving role itself due to healthcare illness of their own or the fact that it just takes long […] to try to coordinate one service,” Rodriguez said. “Because of the caregiver role and the healthcare illness of the loved one, they’d prefer they can get the majority of services – transportation, respite care, medication assistance – at one agency, which is not realistic here in our community because we don’t have all of that in one stop.”

Another major issue for caregivers, who often have to quit their jobs or cut hours, is the cost of medical expenses.

“We are economically depressed,” Rodriguez said. “We don’t have high paying jobs and many of our caregivers struggle to pay for out of pocket medical expenses, especially medications because they’re so expensive. They have to determine, ‘do I make the house payment this month or do I take dad to the doctor so he can get his medication?’”…

Many of these caregivers in turn are not seeking help to deal with the added  stress, whether it is because of lack of health insurance, cultural and language barriers, low income or the stigma attached to mental health issues among Latinos. The result for the caregiver many times is deteriorated health, depression and even more stress and guilt for not being able to care for their seniors properly due to their own struggles.

Younger caregivers, those with small children or attending school, can also face physical, emotional and mental issues from juggling many responsibilities in a limited time frame, especially when additional resources — like other family members or finances to hire outside help — are not available.

Joke Of The Day For Dementia Patient Caregivers

“Three ladies were discussing the travails of getting older. One said, “Sometimes I catch myself with a jar of mayonnaise in my hand, while standing in front of the refrigerator, and I can’t remember whether I need to put it away, or start making a sandwich.” The second lady chimed in with, “Yes, sometimes I find myself on the landing of the stairs and can’t remember whether I was on my way up or on my way down.” The third one responded, ” Well, ladies, I’m glad I don’t have that problem. Knock on wood,” as she rapped her knuckles on the table, and then said, “That must be the door, I’ll get it!

Joke quoted from www.caring.com
Photo courtesy of www.equalvoiceforfamilies.org

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