U.S. Census Bureau, The United States is projected to be a majority-minority nation by 2043. By 2060, nearly 1 in 3 Americans will be Hispanic, up from 1 in 6 Americans now. The Latino older adult population is expected to grow 3.9% each year from now until 2050, with Latinos comprising nearly 16.4% of the older adult population by 2050. This means you will almost certainly have seniors of Latin American descent needing your services in the years to come. Here are some important things to know:
- Not all Spanish-speakers are alike. That’s REALLY important. Someone from Havana may have very different views than someone from rural southern Mexico. We must treat each person as an individual.
- Spanish is important. As a group, Latinos value retention of Spanish as their native language, and approximately 60% of older adults speak Spanish at home. People will have varying levels of English skills depending on when they came to this country and how much they have adapted to mainstream American culture. Add to that the fact that people with dementia can lose their skills in a second language first – knowing some Spanish and continuously improving your Spanish skills is vital.
- Extended family relationships are often very important among this culture group. Generational status is also important, so we must be mindful of patriarchal and matriarchal relationships.
- Roman Catholicism is prevalent among Latinos. About 68% of Hispanics are Catholic, and about one-third of Catholics in the U.S. are Hispanic.