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Take Time to Care for the Caregiver
Date:12/1/2008

MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Prior generations often shared wonderful memories of active and healthy grandparents -- typically because seniors didn't live far past their prime years. In the last century, with life expectancy having increased by an average of 30 years, the "golden ages" are much more encumbered by health care concerns, which may make older loved ones unable to live alone or care for themselves. In the recently published Evercare(R) Study of Hispanic Caregiving in the U.S. conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare, part of UnitedHealthcare, there are currently an estimated eight million people providing care for an older loved one. That equates to one in every three Hispanic households, and the numbers will increase dramatically as our senior population and Hispanic population grow in the next 20 years.

According to the study, almost all Latino caregivers keep their loved ones company or provide emotional support. The first ever look at Hispanic caregiving in the U.S. shows one in four Hispanic caregivers feel it would be very difficult to find someone to take on their responsibilities if they needed a break. They average 37 caregiving hours per week and as a result, 41 percent have left or changed their jobs. But, they are not complaining -- among Latinos, there is a great sense of family unity.

"Taking care of them is like giving back our love," said one Latino caregiver. "They were the first to give us love and attention, so we have a moral obligation to respond. So it's a way to give back that love that was given to us."

Most agreed that taking care of a loved one brings them a sense of fulfillment. Religious faith, in turn, provides the vast majority with the strength to continue in their role. There are strong expectations that Hispanic family members will care for the elderly, rather than pass on the burden to outsiders.

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SOURCE Evercare
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