Respond to at least two colleagues who addressed cultures that are different from the ones you addressed. Share an insight from reading your colleagues’ postings. Describe how you might incorporate the cultural perspectives on aging described by your colleagues into your own social work practice.
Be sure to support your responses with specific references to the resources. If you are using additional articles, be sure to provide full APA-formatted citations for your references.
Response to Tabitha
“Human societies have different customs for dealing with incapacitated older people” (Zastrow, 2016, p. 717). I am of Puerto Rican descent and was raised learning from my American and Puerto Rican culture. When it comes to caring for the elderly, I site more with my Puerto Rican culture. Elderly individuals are to be treated with respect and dignity. We are told to look out for our elders. It is not uncommon to find grandparents living with their children. We hardly ever would put our loved ones in a nursing facility or nursing home. We would find someone in the family to care for them.
America’s seniors are subject to prejudice and stereotyping. Many American elders report feeling ageism among society and the workplace. “While many families and religions honor and value their elders, America is one of the places around the world where seniors are not always given the respect they deserve” (Larsen, 2016). However, America has taken solutions measures for caring for the elderly by providing social security, healthcare reform, nursing care facilities, palliative and hospice care. Anthropologist Jared Diamond, who has studied the treatment of the elderly across cultures, has said the geriatric in countries like the U.K. and U.S. live “lonely lives separated from their children and lifelong friends.” As their health deteriorates, the elderly in these cultures often move to retirement communities, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes.
Know one takes respecting and caring for the elderly to heart as the Chinese do. There is an actual law set in place for respecting the elderly.” Elderly parents in China can sue their grown children for both emotional and financial support. Companies are also required to give workers time off to see their parents” (Larsen, 2016). The Chinese culture has always taught its young to show practices of honor and kindness towards its seniors.
A competency-based approach to social work practice in the field of aging requires practitioners, educators, and students to be grounded in the requisite knowledge and offer evidence of the effectiveness of their work” (Damron-Rodriguez, 2015). To work effectively as a social worker with the elderly one must try to think about how you feel about this age group. If you have any biases, you must remove them and remain competent in your practice. One must familiarize oneself with certain practices and evidence based research to help the aging population. “The social work profession did not recognize the need for specific gerontological or geriatric knowledge until the mid-20th century” (Damron-Rodriguez, 2016).
Digh, P. (2015, October 18). Aging Around the World: France. Retrieved January 17, 2018, from http://coahc.org/2015/10/aging-around-the-world-fr…
Larsen, D. (2016, November 08). How Do Different Cultures Take Care of Seniors? Retrieved January 17, 2018, from https://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/10-10-16-how-different-cultures-take-care-of-seniors/
Zastrow, C. (2016). Empowerment Series: Understanding Human Behavior and the Social Environment, 10th Edition. [Chegg]. Retrieved from https://ereader.chegg.com/#/books/9781305445604/
Response to Samuel
My Culture and Aging
Cultural differences abound in the discussion and practice of the aging experience. The Latino culture and the Russian culture both differ drastically with respect to the aging process and perspective from my own culture. I was raised in a place where people who having aging family members put those family members into homes or places where they can be cared for by other people. The idea that people who are aging need to be cared for by people other than immediate family members is a central theme in the differentiation of perspectives across cultures.
Latino Culture and Aging
In the Latino culture there is a heavy emphasis on relying on the family to be permanent caregivers for aging relatives. According to Angel (2011), “[Mexican] cultural tradition dictates the reliance on family for long-term care”. This stands in stark contrast to many white American cultural traditions of placing aging members of families into facilities to be cared for by strangers. After living in Mexico for a period of time I became aware that Mexican people consider it a great act of disrespect for a family member to be placed in a nursing home. There is a sense of duty in families that dictates how they treat their elders, and that includes caring for them during the later stages of the aging process.
Russian Perspective on Aging
Russian perspectives on aging differ among regions in Russia. Due to its size and incredibly diverse population, Russia has viewpoints on aging that are both different and similar to Western concepts. However, for the purposes of this discussion I will talk about the southern region of Russia, which leans towards the Latino perspective more than the American perspective. Aging people in this region are considered to be more of the leaders of the family, people to be revered and cared for (Strizhitskaya, 2016). Similarly to Latino people, Russians tend to have less fear surrounding witnessing the aging process firsthand. In contrast, American culture is influenced heavily by a fear of death that permeates the sociocultural perspectives on aging.
Cultural Differences and Social Work Implications
I believe that the cultural differences with aging stem from a mindset based in the socioemotional perspectives of the populations of different countries. In the United States, we are more likely to fear death than to embrace it. People are afraid of the aging process because it brings them close to death while in other countries people have been exposed to a less entitled mindset. We as Americans are pampered to a certain extent to the point where we are not equipped to deal with loss. Other cultures have dealt with loss throughout their history and are more prepared to deal with the aging process. These perspectives influence social work practice heavily. Dealing with immigrants from other countries has opened my eyes to the reality that many Americans simply do not appreciate what they have and are scared to lose possessions and emotional connection. People from other countries who are experiencing tragedy, genocide, economic depression, etc. have a mindset that gives them a more exposed perspective to loss, aging and death.
Angel, J. (2011). Aging in America: the Latino perspective. Retrieved from https://news.utexas.edua/2011/04/28/aging-in-america-the-latino-perspective
Strizhitskaya, O. (2016). Aging in Russia. Retrieved from