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All "Senior Health & Wellbeing" Articles

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Senior Care and Alleviating Language Barriers

Senior care is a wonderful alternative to nursing home care, allowing seniors, even those who speak English as a second language, to remain comfortable and independent in their own homes. As the baby boomer population ages, more and more seniors face increasing daily challenges such as maintaining physical, emotional and social wellness, access to healthcare, transportation, meal preparation needs and many more. In addition to these fairly common life challenges, a sizeable population of seniors also faces an added challenge in the form of language barriers.

According to the National Senior Citizens Law Center and the 2010 American FactFinder, over 22 percent of seniors in America over the age of 65 speak a language other than English in their homes or speak English less than "very well." For select populations, including Asian and Hispanic seniors, this number increases dramatically to 60 percent.

Any citizen living amongst a population that speaks a language other than their own faces hurdles including the ability to earn income, the ability to gain education, the ability to access the proper healthcare, medications and treatments needed, the ability to communicate and participate actively within the community and the ability to obtain food and other necessary items to live healthfully. For seniors, especially those who are homebound and cannot easily gain access or transportation to necessary services, these hurdles can seem nearly impossible to overcome. And for those seniors who do not have family members close by or other members of the community with whom they can communicate effectively, seniors find themselves isolated, both physically and emotionally. Asking for help is almost an insurmountable task.

Senior care services, available in many communities, provide a number of diverse solutions to homebound, independent seniors, including healthcare and medication-administering services, household and personal care services, transportation services, and some also provide these desperately needed bilingual services. Senior care providers assist seniors inside their own homes to communicate with outside healthcare providers, to help seniors obtain medications and as well as read and understand proper usage and dosage, to help read and write correspondence, obtain and decipher test results, and much more.

While seniors - as well as all members of society - face a wide variety of challenges within their daily lives, many do not have the added worry of basic communication with the outside world. However, for the population of seniors who do not speak English as their native language, daily challenges can be overwhelming. Fortunately, senior care services offer the assistance, guidance and communication necessary for seniors' overall wellness.

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