Latino Families Believe In Eldercare, But A Tough Mission


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For 10 years Gloria Frías has had a full time job, but she receives no compensation for her work.
This is because ever since her mother suffered a fall that confined her to a wheel chair she has had to change her lifestyle completely, becoming the primary caregiver of Paula Frías Vázquez, who turned 91 years old last February.
“I had to leave my family for eight months to deal with my mother’s medical emergency in Mexico. My youngest son was 12 years old

Latino Eldercare  By the Numbers
* 1 in 3 Hispanic households in the U.S. have at least one family member providing eldercare in their family.
* 8 million Hispanics who are caregiving for a family elder do so without receiving an paid compensation for their services.
* 7 out of 10 Latino family members have had to reduce their work hours, change jobs, use up their vacation time, or quit to dedicate themselves full time to the caregiving of an older family member.
–Melody Miranda Aulet

at the time, and I had to leave him with my former husband so I could take care of her, since my brothers never showed up to give me a hand,” Gloria said.
While in Mexico her ex-husband sent her some money to cover her mother’s medical expenses, but when she came back with her mother to the United States everything changed and she stopped receiving support from everyone around her.
8 Million Latino Caregivers
Gloria Frías explains how difficult it was at first to take her mother on the bus to medical appointments while she was in a wheel chair. “Now I can take her in my car, but I have to carry her. And then at the doctor’s office I have an even harder time since they take so long for the physician to see her. They treat her like any other patient, not taking into consideration her advanced age, how she cries because of the pain she feels.”
This Mexican woman is one of more than 8 million Hispanics taking care of family elders without receiving any compensation, according to the 2008 study, “Hispanic Family Caregiving in the U.S.” conducted by the Evercare organization in collaboration with the National Alliance for Caregiving.
According to Henry Pacheco, MD, medical director of the National Hispanic Council on Aging, “What motivates Hispanics to become caregivers to their elders is familiarismo, their cultural values that are passed on from generation to generation.”
Pacheco, who is from Bolivia, said Hispanics learn the obligation to care for family elders from an early age. “In many cases it is an honor or a cultural obligation, just like the responsibility of taking care of your children,” he added.
Most Latinos prefer to take care of their elders at home were they can speak their native language and eat Latino cuisine, instead of sending them to nursing homes.
Also, it is almost impossible for most Hispanic families to pay between $8,000 and $10,000 a month for institutional care in a nursing home, Pacheco said.
A Challenge for Women
According to the Hispanic family caregiving study, a third of Latino households
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