Multicultural Caregivers Should Not be Forgotten

Caregivers for the elderly (03) - 12Apr11, Champigny-sur-Marne (France)

In multicultural communities in the United States and in several foreign countries, community caregivers form the backbone of caregiving for certain socioeconomic levels. As a child, I recall that  black women often could only find work as housekeepers or caregivers in the homes of those more fortunate. And so for many years I thought it was just black, brown and red people who took care of their sick and elderly in their homes. This was because they either had no money for care outside the home, were not welcome in formal facilities, or their cultural beliefs relative to care of the elderly prevented this decision.  Within cultural circles we bragged that we took care of our own.
 
I now realize I was somewhat correct with these beliefs about caregivers in multicultural communities. There is now ethnogeriatric <a title="Stanford" href="http://www.stanford.edu/group/ethnoger/african.html" target="_blank">research </a>on informal networks that says church supports, and extended family in the Black community show that intergenerational family support and support from the extended family have been the hallmark of health care in the African American community. 
 
So now it's <strong>Caregiver's Month</strong>. In honor of caregivers, the <a href="http://thanksproject.org/" title="Thanks Project" target="_blank">Thanks Project</a> was launched and is a social quilt of thank you’s where you can upload a note, photo or video to thank a caregiver in your life.  Take a moment to send up a thank you to that person or persons who have helped you in your Caregiving journey.
 
 
I want to thank caregivers in communities everywhere, but most especially those in multicultural communities, who are often overlooked in the conversation on caregiving and who toil against the odds doing what they must, sometimes without the benefit of Medicare or Medicaid.  We now have a better understanding of the breadth of their contributions as caregiving in the home is no longer limited to a narrow segment of the population. 
 
 
Do you have any cultural memories associated with caring for family in your home rather than an institution?

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