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Comparison of Elderly Care Among Caucasian, Hispanic, and Asian

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Comparison of Elderly Care among Caucasian, Hispanic, and Asian

Human longevity of the twenty-first century is unprecedented in the history of humankind. Modern medicine, scientific advances, and healthier lifestyles are forces that are reshaping the physical processes of growing old and extending life expectancies throughout the world (Berk 2004). As aging populations increase throughout the world, societies have to examine the way in which they care for the elders within the family and cultures. Aging is a basic cycle of life that everyone will endure throughout their life span. Aging is also a process that is universal in every culture, a common trait that all cultures will experience. As healthcare advances continue to improve and the elderly are living healthier lifestyle the life expectance of the aging adult continue the increase (National Center for Health Statistics, 2005). Family members and friends continue to provide the major portion of long-term care of the elderly in society (McFarland, 2009). More than 7 million American households are actively involved in providing care for older adults. Culturally, these families are grappling with how best to deliver care within the changes and structures of economic costs and productivity, health provision care and costs.

While children are usually thought to bear the responsibility for the elderly within the family actually providing support can exceed far more extensive commitment than is normally expected of them. The responsibility is that such caring often seems to intensify feelings of obligation and generate a sense of moral worth amongst those who observe the need for the elderly family member. While there are great similarities among all people experiencing the process of aging, but culturally define the aging process differently. Each ethnic minority group has socially constructed definitions of aging, being old, being valued or devalued and defining roles for their elderly family members.

Strong ethnic ties are important to Asian-American elderly people, who look forward to the prestige that comes with old age and logically follows the authority and respect gained through lifelong family solidarity. Practices of patrilineal authority, respect for elders, and religious practices celebrating ancient legends and ancestors contribute to respect for the elderly in Asian-American communities (Lin, 2010). Retirement and disengagement are culturally prescribed roles in Asian-American families. In the Asian culture there are three central components of filial piety when caring for the aging adult within the culture respecting parents, bringing no dishonor to parents and family, and taking care of parents with good food, soft clothes, a warm room, comfort and peace (Sung, 1998).

The adult child to assume parent care and to meet the needs of his or her aged parent while it is emphasizes that the duties includes and is usually connected with protection, care or financial support (Sung, 1998). In most traditional Asian culture, the elderly live in extended, multigenerational households and rely on their adult children, their spouses, and other family members for material needs and personal care.

In the Hispanic cultures, the elderly are responsible for passing down oral traditions and teaching and instructing younger members. By telling stories, myths, legends, and singing songs, the elderly keep their heritage and history alive (Goldstein, 2008). Teaching younger members skills and subsistence knowledge is also very important for the existence of a culture. But despite the strengths of elderly Native Americans and their families, conflicts like poverty and immigration are affecting this strengthen roles and considerable outside resources and support are required to get this population closer to the quality of life that many white, middle-class



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