Care Starts With You

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

By: Mónica Cortés Torres

One of my favorite quotes is by Rosalynn Carter, it says: “There are only four kinds of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, those who currently are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.” The Hispanic community fully understands and embodies that notion. They learn as children that taking care of their parents once they age is the natural course of life.

For Latinos, family is the base of their caregiving system, and it is very likely that at some point they will have to help their parents, grandparents, and maybe even their spouses, to perform every day tasks like cooking a meal or taking a shower.

On average, Latinos live longer than the general population. By 2050, the Hispanic share of the elderly population will almost triple in comparison to 2005. Combined with health issues that are prevalent and/or undetected amongst the Hispanic population —conditions like diabetes and depression— the burden on caregivers could grow exponentially.

Latinos don’t think of themselves as caregivers because it is part of their upbringing. They consider taking personal care of their relatives as a duty, but they also consider it an act of love. Yet, despite the underlying expectations being ever present, most of them are caught by surprise and unprepared to face their caregiving journey.

Hispanic caregivers and their families face additional difficulties: they often must deal with both language and cultural barriers as they navigate the health and social service systems. Additionally, there are a lack of culturally proficient elderly care services for the Hispanic population.

As a nonprofit, nonpartisan social mission organization for people over 50 years of age, AARP has worked tirelessly in multicultural communities to support and aid families so they can live their best life possible. This is why we recognize the selfless commitment and the difficulties of the task that you as a caregiver have taken on. We want to let you know that you are not alone. The AARP Caregiving Resource Center is an easily accessible place available around the clock that provides an easy way to join an online community of Hispanic caregivers, learn about local services, and get access to Spanish language tools and information to help you care for your loved ones and yourself. Just contact our Call Center hotline (1-888-971-2013) or click on and you will find tips and information on how to take care of yourself in your role as caregiver.

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