Culture determines values and preferences of an individual; it is a major influence on how a person’s attitude was built. It is life dictums that when a person gets older he or she goes back to his childhood traits. We are talking here of an attitude from infantile to a seven year old individual. Though not everyone reach the majority age, it is still of great importance that we deal on this matter. After all life is worth living if dying is not something to be afraid of. To die gracefully is a gift of old age.
Understanding the culture of a person is to know a person well. It is a tool for caseworkers, doctors, or any person who will get a chance to deal with the elderly and most important those who are at their twilight years. It is our responsibility to make their path clear, free from any constraints, and let the remainder of their lives worthy to live with. For the elderly who is sick and dying, it is culture that shapes his reason on how he will face to his difficulty. There is no instant formula to deal with this problem but simple kindness and understanding.
Understanding here is the key because it leads us to know the person we are dealing with. For anyone who would like to reach out, this advice from a physician sounds very convincing “you got to go where he lives”. (Blackhall, 2001) It is not cultural differences which makes an elderly person becomes more prone to depression but for being left alone. Sadness is always an ally of the enemy and diversity makes life more colorful. How many times do we hear old people say why they are still around when in fact they are no longer of use and oh all my friends are gone why am I still here?
Caring comes after knowing and this is the reason behind we should learn the culture of the elderly we are taking care of so we could apply the means. Failure to apply the means of understanding could trigger the pangs of depression and may lead a person to escape a life that seems to be unbearable. In this case, any person who have lost the zest for life and feel misunderstood would really find no meaning at it. However, people view life in different ways and not all depression leads to suicidal attempts. What cause an elderly to commit suicide are not cultural differences but cultural factors such as influences and beliefs.
“Communication, decision making and attitudes are three dimensions in end-of-life treatment. “ (Admin, 2005) These are issues that can guide the family and physicians or caseworkers to address cultural diversity at the end of life. It is cultural belief that determines how a person must live but sometimes traditions are clouded by existence of some social factors like for instance is it right to provide “assisted suicide to our terminally ill elderly patients. ”(Battin, 1998) For instance it is a wide belief that the best death is to die in a good bed surrounded by our loved ones.
“But in this country majority would simply say it is not an option to remain at home and care for the terminally ill loved one. ”(Berger,2002) The burden of income loss and care giving cost makes it difficult to adhere in dying like a Bourgeois. Married persons and those with higher levels of education mostly die at home wherein single, separated or divorced patients die in the hospital. Our cultural determinants also points out how our health care delivery systems are provided which gives possible factors on how we spend the last days of our lives.
“End of life is also an issue of grieve and bereavement which begins before the illness of a loved one and remains beyond death. “ (NASW, 2004) It is important to focus on care and pain management. Life’s ending care should receive the attention it fully deserves because this is the final phase of a person’s life which must be addressed by families and government policies and community programs. REFERENCES: Administration, Veterans Health. “End of Life Care Bibliography. ” (2005), http://www1. va. gov/valnet/docs/3END2005. pdf. Ann Berger, RN, MSN, MDa, Donna Pereira, RN, MAa.
“Social and Cultural Determinants of End-of-Life Care for Elderly Persons. ” (2002), http://gerontologist. gerontologyjournals. org/cgi/content/full/42/suppl_3/49. Battin, M. P. , Rhodes. “Assisted Suicide: Expanding the Debate. ” (1998), http://www. apa. org/pi/eol/resources. html. Leslie J. Blackhall, MD. “Negotiating Cross-Cultural Issues at the End of Life. ” (2001), http://jama. ama-assn. org/cgi/content/abstract/286/23/2993. NASW. “End-of-Life Care ” (2004), http://www. socialworkers. org/research/naswResearch/EndofLifeCare/default. asp.