The Hispanic population over 65 in the United States is expected to increase to 15 million by 2050, making up 18% of the older population. As this demographic grows, it becomes increasingly important to meet their unique needs and provide them with the resources and support they need to thrive as they age. One solution that has gained popularity in recent years is using virtual programming. These resources offer a convenient and flexible way for Hispanic older adults to continue their education, learn new skills, and engage with their communities from the comfort of their own homes, often at little to no cost to them.
Barriers to traditional education for Hispanic seniors
There are several barriers that can prevent Hispanic seniors from accessing aging resources or even home care services. These include language barriers, financial barriers, a lack of knowledge of resources, transportation issues, and health concerns. All of these barriers can make it difficult for Hispanic seniors to access governmental, private, and non-profit provided aging resources. In addition, access to aging services can vary for Hispanic older adults, particularly for those who are not citizens, as many government-funded programs for seniors have specific eligibility requirements that may limit access for non-citizen older adults.
The benefits of virtual resources for Hispanic seniors
Virtual programming offers a number of benefits for Hispanic seniors, including convenience and flexibility. With virtual programming, seniors can access resources on their own schedule rather than being tied to a set schedule. This flexibility can be especially helpful for seniors who may have other responsibilities, such as caring for grandchildren or managing a chronic health condition.
In addition to convenience, virtual programming also allows for access to information and resources in multiple languages including Spanish, which can make it easier for seniors who are more comfortable learning in their native language.
Another benefit of virtual programming is the opportunity to learn at one’s own pace. With traditional in-person courses, learners may feel pressure to keep up with the rest of the class or may struggle to understand the material if it is presented too quickly. With virtual programming, learners can take the time they need to fully comprehend the material before moving on to the next lesson.
An important aspect to consider is the fact that caregiving often falls on family members of Spanish-speaking older adults. This can put a significant burden on family members, who may have to balance caring for an older adult with their own responsibilities and obligations. This can lead to physical and emotional stress, as well as financial strain. Virtual programming that can entertain and educate on health and wellness topics, technology, and more, specifically for Hispanic older adults can help ease the burden on family members and offer greater access to resources to support them in their caregiving role.
Virtual resources available in Spanish
There are several home care virtual resources available in Spanish for older adults. Some examples include:
- The National Council on Aging’s BenefitsCheckUp: This website provides information in Spanish about government benefits and programs that can help seniors pay for healthcare, prescriptions, and other needs.
- GetSetUp Estamos Listos!: A virtual platform that offers a wide range of classes, workshops and social activities, that are tailored for seniors. Many of these resources are available in Spanish.
- Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 Helpline: This helpline offers support and information for caregivers and individuals with dementia in Spanish, with support available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Meals on Wheels America: This organization provides meal delivery services to seniors, and many programs also offer virtual check-ins, support groups, and other resources in Spanish to support older adults, particularly those who are isolated or have difficulty leaving their home.
- AARP’s Virtual Senior Center: This online center offers a variety of activities and resources specifically geared toward seniors, including language classes, cultural events, and other educational opportunities in a virtual setting. Many of these resources are available in Spanish.
- ElderTreks: This organization offers travel adventures for seniors, including virtual tours and activities that can be accessed from home, many of which are in Spanish and cater to the Hispanic population.
Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive and there are many other virtual resources available in Spanish for older adults. Virtual programming is a valuable resource that can help create equity for diverse populations as they age offering them opportunities for health and wellness, learning, and socialization in their native language at their own pace. It can also help ease the burden on family members and make home care more impactful, by offering better access to information, support and resources. By addressing the unique needs of the Hispanic older adult population and providing resources that are easily accessible and culturally and linguistically appropriate, we can help improve their overall well-being and ability to age in place for Spanish speaking home care patients. Isn’t it time your home care services expanded to address a more diverse population?
Lawrence Kosick is co-founder and president of GetSetUp. He has led business development and partnership teams for decades at companies such as IFTTT, Sight Machine and Yahoo. He is pleased to work with co-founder Neil Dsouza at GetSetUp to create a learning platform for older adults that empowers them to live more happy, healthy and connected lives that is inspired by the work his father did to help older adults so many years ago