According to a recent poll, Hispanic Americans are less likely to trust or use nursing home facilities than the national average, despite living to a greater age.
The poll was conducted by the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, affiliated with the Associated Press. It involved 1,341 people aged 40 or older, interviewed in both English and Spanish.
Results show that Hispanics make up about 5.5 percent of all nursing home residents, despite consisting of about 8 percent of all Americans over the age of 65. This is far below the rate of other ethnic or racial groups.
Furthermore, less than 20 percent of respondents say that they are “very confident” or “extremely confident” in a nursing home‘s ability to accommodate their cultural needs.
According to University of Texas sociology professor Jacqueline Angel, one factor of this is that Hispanic communities tend to be close-knit, with a cultural preference for the elderly living with family.
Perhaps because of this, Hispanics also have higher standards for what health care should entail. Compared to other ethnic groups, more believe that a home health aide should do ancillary activities like shopping, transportation and helping pay bills, like a typical family member would.
National Alliance for Hispanic Health president Jane Delgado adds that nursing homes generally are not interested in cultural activities of any kind, which is seen as negative to those whose culture is outside of the mainstream.
Another major factor is language, with 45 percent of respondents saying that they have had a hard time communicating with health care providers.
This is all the more relevant because Hispanics tend to outlive other ethnic groups in the United States. Hispanics have a life expectancy of 82 years, with 84.3 years for women. In contrast, non-Hispanic whites and African-Americans are 78.7 and 75.1, respectively.