BOX 4-3

Knowledge and Skills Needed in Ethnogeriatrics

Knowledge:

  • Differential health risks

  • Diverse cultural health beliefs and practice systems

  • Historic experiences that cohorts of older adults are likely to have experienced

  • Palliative care

Skills:

  • Showing culturally appropriate respect to older adults

  • Performing culturally appropriate assessments

  • Eliciting elders’ explanatory models of their conditions

  • Working with older adults’ families from different cultures

  • Identifying cultural guidesa

  

aCultural guides are often individuals from the local community who help patients navigate the health care system, keeping cultural preferences in mind.

SOURCE: Yeo, 2007.

used as resources in different geographic areas to provide content on local populations (www.stanford.edu/group/ethnoger). Box 4-3 lists some of the knowledge and skills needed to properly care for diverse populations.


Lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons Approximately 1 million to 3 million adults ages 65 and older are gay, lesbian, or bisexual (GLB), and by 2030 that number is expected to rise to 4 million (Cahill et al., 2000). The few existing studies on the health care needs of older GLB patients report similarities to the health care needs of heterosexual older adults, with a few important differences. Many GLB patients do not feel comfortable disclosing their sexual orientation to their health care providers. Surveys reveal that discrimination based on sexual orientation is widespread in health care and other social-service settings, and it often causes GLB persons to avoid seeking health care (Cahill et al., 2000; Ryan and Futterman, 1998; Schatz and O’Hanlan, 1994). The discomfort of revealing sexual orientation to health care providers is heightened for older adults who came of age at a



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