Elderly Care In the Hispanic tradition, “family” has always been a central part of their identity and culture. The parents would take care of the children, and once the parents became too old to fully care for themselves, the children would take care of them. In fact, long ago, it was traditional that the youngest daughter would bear the responsibility of caring for her parents until their death. This would mean that she would more than likely have to give up her own desires for marriage. Although many girls would not make such a sacrifice, the idea of caring for one’s parents remained a fixture in Hispanic society and continues to this day.
In today’s society, with times having changed and many Hispanics living in American, it has become nearly impossible for Hispanic children to care for their parents as they once did. With the changing of times, Hispanics are living longer and soon many Hispanic children will be retirement age by the time their parents die. This could potentially pose a financial burden on those who will take care of the parents. The US Census Bureau projects that because of improvements in the quality of Hispanic’s health, by the year 2050, 13 million people over the age of 65 will be Hispanic. Nearly 3 million of them will be 85 years of age.
Although children welcome the blessing of having their parents around longer, they do understand that there are challenges that come with such a blessing. The biggest challenge that comes with Hispanics living longer is that with aging come chronic ailments that are often disabling. Research shows that older Latinos are likely to develop illnesses such as diabetes and different forms of cancer, and as a result it will be quite expensive for children to keep their parents out of nursing homes. Another challenge that comes with Hispanics living longer is determining which child will take care of the parents should the need arise.
The numbers of Latinos that work outside the home have significantly increased in recent years, and presently more than half of them make up the Latino working population. With so many Latinos now employed there is no one to take care of the parents and they are beginning to seek alternatives for long term care. Considering long term care poses emotional dilemmas for both the parents and the children. The children, while they love their parents and feel obligated to care for them, do not want to sacrifice their own jobs and families in order to care for their parents.
Likewise, the parents do not want to become a burden on their children and do not want the children to have to give up their own lives in order to take care of them (Angel & Angel, 1998). Since it appears inevitable that most Hispanic children will not be able to fully care for their parents in the future, it is hoped that there will be public policies developed that will ensure that quality care is provided for elderly Hispanics that will allow for family involvement. Reference Angel, J. , & Angel, R. (1998). Nuestros Padres. Hispanic, 11(9), 18-22. Retrieved from http://web. ebsocohost. com