How Do You Eat An Elephant?
…one bite at a time!This post kicks off a series on creative caregiving with various cultural groups that we may encounter as eldercare professionals. As such, it falls under the very large umbrella of developing “cultural competence.” Wait – let’s make the font match:
CULTURAL COMPETENCEDepending on your educational background, you may or may not have heard this term before, but believe me – this is important for all of us. That’s because we work in a diverse society, where we will inevitably work alongside and in service of people from a variety of backgrounds. Our clients are diverse in terms of race/ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual identity, language, acculturation, socioeconomic status, and more. Cultural competence means understanding the effects of a client’s cultural background as it relates to their health and the care that we provide as professional caregivers. This means:
- Taking the time to learn where a person is coming from.
- Honoring that person’s history and understanding of the world.
- Observing and recognizing your own cultural biases.
- Not assuming anything based on the color of someone’s skin or the language they speak, but having a basis from which to ask questions.
- Integrating all of this knowledge into the care you provide.
- According to the Center on Aging Society, by 2050, ethnically and racially diverse minorities will make up about 35% of the population over the age of 65.
- Compared to the majority white population, racial and ethnic minorities have higher morbidity and mortality rates from cancer, diabetes, anxiety, depression, and other chronic conditions.
- If we as service providers are not working to provide culturally competent care, then our clients are at a higher risk of negative health consequences.
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