Latinos: Caregivers for our Viejitos (Elderly)

When President Obama and his family moved in the White House, Michelle Obama’s mother moved in with them.  While the media seemed to find this extended family live-in situation odd, for many of us, this felt very Latino.  In our family-centered culture, the model of extended families living together or in close proximity, with grandparents helping to care for their children’s children and then being taken care of themselves as they needed assistance in old age, is still the desired model for Hispanics.  But as we advance in our careers and raise children to maximize their potential, the continuation of this tradition can be more challenging than in the past.

A recent survey by Caring.com revealed that most family caregivers are deeply impacted by the financial and emotional cost of caring for their loved ones. This impact is being felt by more and more Hispanics as our 65 age and older family members are projected to be the largest racial/ethnic group by the year 2019 (Administration of Aging.)

National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) President and CEO Dr. Yanira Cruz, states that our countries paradigm for supporting the elderly will have to change, highlighting that our world population will have more adults than young people. She emphasizes that we must begin exploring innovations that will assure that in 20 or 30 years, older adults will be able to age with dignity and enjoy their golden years.  “We’re living longer thanks to the advances of medicine but with that we   have a lot of changes coming.”

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