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Hispanics in the United States have a longer life expectancy, but a poll finds few older Latinos are confident that nursing homes and assisted living facilities can meet their needs.
The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey also shows that close to 50 percent of older Hispanics have faced language or cultural barriers interacting with health care providers.
Fewer than 2 in 10 Hispanics age 40 and older say they are very or extremely confident that nursing homes and assisted living facilities can accommodate their cultural needs, according to the poll.
Experts cite two factors that might be contributing to the lack of confidence: social norms among Hispanic families that discourage outside care of older relatives, and a lack of high-quality providers. "Quality is not just meeting government requirements. It's also having high engagement and a sense of community," said Jacqueline Angel, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin who has researched Hispanics and aging.
Jane Delgado, president of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, agreed. Most nursing homes have not been attuned to the particular needs of Hispanics, she said. "Culture is not something that they are interested in."
According to the poll, about half of Hispanics have had difficulty communicating with a health care provider because of a cultural (47 percent) or language barrier (45 percent). Angel said that may result in lower use of long-term care facilities.
Government statistics show that Hispanics have a life expectancy of 82 years, longer than non-Hispanic white Americans (78.7 years) and non-Hispanic black Americans (75.1 years). Hispanic women have a life expectancy of 84.3 years.