Over the next decade, the elderly population is going to become much more diverse, reflecting the changes in population make-up in the United States that have occurred over the past half a century. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the older minority population is projected to increase by 217 percent by 2030, compared with an 81 percent increase in the older white population. As the elderly population becomes more diverse, home care agencies will need to adapt in order to provided services and treat clients in a way that is conscious of cultural differences.
The need for accommodating different cultural expectations will affect home care agencies in different ways. Peggye Dilworth-Anderson, the co-director of the Institute on Aging at the University of North Carolina, argues that care providers need to understand the “cultural context” of each of their clients. Some needs, such as that a non-native English speaker may feel more comfortable working a bilingual caregiver, are more obvious. Other changes may be less instinctive. Different cultures have different attitudes towards the elderly, effecting the expectations of both clients, and their families. When many generations are both involved and committed to caring for their seniors, families may have different expectations about who takes part in home care decisions than agencies are used to. How can home care agencies ensure that their agency is respectful of the cultural diversity of their clients and providing the best care? Here are three ways that you can increase your agency’s cultural competency:
- Match clients with caregivers that understand and can meet their needs.
Caregivers and clients spend a lot of time together. Using ClearCare, or another homecare software or homecare system, you can easily match up caregivers and client’s based not just on concrete care needs, but also cultural ones. You can filter by language and other factors that will help ensure that clients are matched with caregivers that they are comfortable with.
- Keep family members feeling involved.
If a senior comes from a culture in which many generations traditionally take part in care, it can be frustrating and confusing for their family when they need to seek care assistance outside of the home. With a homecare system or software like ClearCare, family members can log into a family portal, allowing them to see what care their loved one is receiving. 24 hour access through a homecare system to an online calendar keeps families up-to-date and feeling involved.
- Train and keep track of caregiver’s experience with different cultures.
Many caregivers have experience with a variety of cultures, and they might already be coming into work with a high level of cultural competency! A homecare system or homecare software, like ClearCare, provided you with a customizable online application. You can easily keep track of what languages a caregiver speaks, their previous caregiving experiences, and more in your homecare scheduling system. When you build in your own training on respecting cultural diversity, you can use your homecare software to keep track of which caregivers have attended trainings, and message them about it.
Developing processes to ensure that client’s unique perspectives and needs are being taken into account is essential to providing adequate and respectful care. With a homecare system or homecare software like ClearCare, adapting to ensure that your agency is taking each client’s cultural context into account is easy! Has your agency thought about cultural diversity? How do you ensure that a client’s culture is respected? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!