About 14% older Latino adults report problems paying for health
A new study by Collage Group revealed that lack of cultural competency as well as family traditions make Hispanics more likely to become caregivers. Freepik

NEW YORK CITY - Despite facing systemic healthcare barriers in the U.S., Hispanics have emerged as the demographic most likely to perform the role of caregivers for the elders in their households, according to a new report by Collage Group.

The new study, titled "Engaging Hispanic Carefluencers," sought to understand the current landscape among Latino caregivers, emphasizing the current trends and issues Hispanics tend to see when taking care of their family members.

Caregiving for family members tends to be a demanding role, according to the study. It requires juggling many tasks such as picking up prescriptions, taking care of the home, contributing financially to their patients, attending doctor's appointments, helping explain medical terminology and healthcare jargon and more.

Latinos tend to be more likely than other races and ethnicities to live in a multigenerational household, making it more likely they will become caregivers as their family members grow older.

The study found that 67% of Hispanics in the U.S. perform tasks to help care for someone in their life who has a health/medical condition, which is about 10 percentage points higher than the total population.

Because of these responsibilities, Hispanics also tend to face the many burdens of multigenerational barriers like education and health care inequities. For instance, 52% of Latino caregivers are also employed, meaning they have to balance this with the responsibilities of work.

Similarly, 53% of Hispanic caregivers of elders also have children under the age of 18 in the household, adding to the long list of responsibilities these individuals are tasked to take care of.

Providing healthcare services for a Hispanic family member can manifest itself in different ways, the research group explains. One of the most popular ones being in translation and/or interpretation for their English-limited parents since an early age.

But language barriers are not the only thing that draws Latinos and Hispanics to provide caregiving services. In fact, cultural traditions of warmth and family-centered customs emerged as one of the top reasons cited for their decision-making.

According to Collage Group, 86% of Latinos say that family is one of the most important things in their life, compared to 82% of the total population.

"As far as Latinos go, studies have looked at how parents intentionally teach children to focus on and prioritize family over themselves," said Dr. Belinda Campos from the University of California. "So they are not only assisting their family members, but they are also finding it pleasurable and rewarding."

Hispanics also see themselves attracted to caregiving due to a lack of culturally competent care and caregiving options in the U.S.

For example, Hispanics are more likely than White Americans to see hospices and other health providers as going against patient wishes, paying attention to the lack of hospices' religious and spiritual support.

At the same time, Hispanic caregivers report the fewest sources of caregiving help or information— just 1.4 on average, getting information from professionals or from friends and family less often than others.

Collage Group recommends different approaches not only to address the gap between Hispanic caregivers, but also to make sure that their efforts are being appreciated and effective.

"Recognize the challenges caregivers face. Share resources, stories, and words of affirmation to help ease the burden," the study reads. "Lead with cultural understanding. Ensure medical practitioners are culturally and linguistically competent in supporting the Hispanic patient and the caregiving segment."

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