Latino Senior Population Increasing; Studies Reflect Disparities in Care
The increasing proportion of Latino seniors in California could raise unique issues for how to provide care for the population group, including language barriers and access to care, the Sacramento Bee reports. Latino seniors by 2040 are expected to match the proportion of non-Latino white seniors in California, according to the State Plan on Aging recently released by the Department of Aging.
Recent studies found health disparities between Latino and non-Latino white seniors. According to several different studies, compared with non-Latino whites, Latinos show signs of Alzheimer's seven years earlier, have strokes at a younger age and have a 44% higher incidence of diabetes. In addition, about 45% of Latino seniors rate their health as "fair" or "poor" compared with about 25% of non-Latino whites, according to the latest California Health Interview Survey.
Differences in care are in part a result of language barriers, cultural differences in diet, lack of health insurance and differences in income, the Bee reports. Some patient advocates also say that the use of translators can lead to inaccurate care because of translators' lack of medical expertise and privacy issues (Weaver Teichert, Sacramento Bee, 5/30).