AARP teamed up with the Chinese American Community Center in Hockessin to present to their Chat and Learn Club for a seminar on “end of life” issues. AARP Delaware Advocacy Director Sheila Grant also made a presentation on “Sharing the Care: AARP’s Support and Advocacy for Family Caregivers. Representatives from Delaware Hospice also talked about palliative care.
State Representative Michael Smith, whose district encompasses the Chinese Center, attended the event and is pictured below, with some other event photos.
Helen Tiang Yates, who is active in the Chinese community, is also a member of the AARP Delaware Executive Council.
Yates became interested in the issue of family caregiving after many years of caring for her brother, who has schizophrenia. She never identified as a caregiver until AARP brought the issue to light with the passage of Delaware’s CARE Act in 2016. Through Helen’s work to support AARP’s CARE Act, she realized she faced many of the same challenges that over 125,000 family caregivers in Delaware grapple with each day. Financial challenges, missed work time, and stress are characteristic of family caregiving. Family members dedicate themselves to caring for loved ones so they many remain at home for as long as possible.
Caregiving in among Delaware’s nearly 9,000 Asian Americans is a topic AARP wants to address. In fact, a 2016 AARP study found that in Chinese culture, some characteristics are found across the board:
· Caregiving issues and problems are generally kept private within the family.
· Support from unpaid caregivers within the extended family is fairly common, but generally insufficient; paid caregiver support is uncommon, but frequently desired.
· Caregiver selection is not often discussed in-depth and is typically an organic process involving the consideration of a variety of factors, such as birth order, finances, and other logistics.
“In Chinese culture, the youngest child often takes much of the burden of family caregiving,” notes Helen Yates. “They often miss opportunities to enjoy life and socialize like many others of their age. It’s actually a challenge that is facing many millennials today.”
Yates also noted that within the Chinese community, unpleasant issues such as caregiving or palliative care are not discussed, making it all the more difficult to deal with a family situation once it arises. She expresses the importance of events like this one to bring the issues to the forefront.