As the United States population continues to age in ever growing numbers and cultural diversity, who is responsibly for caring for the elderly comes into to question when modern demands on time and finances conflicts with ancient cultural requirements.

For many Asian-Americans, caring for and respect for one’s elders is a cultural requirement, one rooted in Confucian philosophy. However, the idea that children are supposed to take care of their aging family members has become difficult to adhere to due to the number of families that separated geographically as well as financial requirements focusing both spouses to work.

With the increase in aging Asian-Americans come a new emergence of nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and retirement communities for Asian-Americans with the United States. These types of elder care facilities offer health care providers trained to deal with culturally sensitive questions such as addressing a patient by their first name, how to cope with someone who may have been a war refugee about war trauma and work with any language barriers.

Many older Asian-Americans may have lived their entire lives within a tight knit community, resulting in a lack of English proficiency. Finding a health care aide or senior care residence with trained professionals who can speak Korean, Mandarin and Vietnamese as well facilities that offer familiar Asian foods, will be a key factor in successfully caring for this population of older adults within the U.S.

According to a recent article in The New York Times, the Administration on Aging, an agency of the Health and Human Services Department, states “the number of Asian, Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders over age 65 is expected to grow to 2.5 million by 2020 and 7.6 million by 2050, from fewer than one million in 2000.”

When the time comes that you or a family member is no longer able to live independently, contact ElderLink to discuss the options and learn about assisted living services and facilities within California.