Welcome guest blogger Hanah Cho, a business reporter at The Sun. She attended the Gerontological Society of America conference as a 2011-2012 Metlife Foundation Journalists in Aging Fellows Program, a project of GSA and New America Media.
As the country grows older, caregiving will become an even bigger issue for families. In Maryland alone, the 65-and-over population grew by more than 18 percent in the past decade, according to the U.S. Census.
While all families face difficult and a wide range of choices when it comes to caregiving options, the state’s growing immigrant and ethnic populations could encounter additional barriers in accessing available services.
To find such evidence, Banghwa Lee Casado, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, conducted a study of 146 Korean American caregivers in Maryland and northern Virginia to examine access barriers to using home- and community-based programs, such as respite care, adult day care, home health and transportation services.
Casado’s research found a good majority of her subjects had never used these services. A lack of awareness was the most cited reason for not accessing these services. For instance, more than eight out of 10 reported having no knowledge of respite care and caregiving support group.
“We know anecdotally they have limited resources,” said Casado, who presented her findings at The Gerontological Society of America conference last month in Boston. “But without the data, we can’t show evidence there is unmeet need.”
Casado said her findings – which also could be broadly applied to other limited English populations – could help social agencies improve their education outreach and work with community groups focused on ethnic populations. In fact, Casado recently presented her findings to the Howard County Office of Aging and the Fairfax Area Agency on Aging.