The Original Caregivers In Multicultural Communities
In multicultural communities in the United States and in several foreign countries, community caregivers form the backbone of caregiving for certain socioeconomic levels. I recall as a child that black women could often only find work as housekeepers or caregivers in the homes of those more fortunate. My child-like mind 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.
I now realize I was somewhat correct with these beliefs about caregivers in multicultural communities. There is now ethnogeriatric research 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 Caregiver’s Month. In honor of caregivers, the Thanks Project 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.
AARP has a wonderful resource for caregivers. You will find support and advice to help you through most of the decisions your family needs to make. Here are a few additional resources to tuck away.
Patricia A. Patton is a member of AARP’s Blogger Kitchen Cabinet on #caregiving, #caresupport, #carekc issues. All opinions are her own.