206997 Eldercare and caregiver burden - Has the Jewish community response met the challenge of culture and religious practice?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Reuven G. Becker, MBA, MS, ORD Rabbi , L'Orech Yomim/Center for Healthy Living, Inc., Flushing, NY
Lee Caplan, PhD , Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
Ephraim Shapiro, PHD, MPA, MBA , School of Medicine, New York University, New York, NY
Mendel Singer, PhD , Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Due to a multiplicity of factors such as changing demographics, planners, researchers and policymakers have long identified caregiver burden as an area of major concern. The contribution of informal family caregivers significantly reduces the cost of elder care and improves health care outcomes. Failure to address caregiver burden may lead to increased cost, poor health care outcomes for both the patient and the caregiver. Interventions such as social supports are effective. Empirical studies demonstrate that culture and ethnicity are associated with intensity of caregiver burden.

This pilot study examines the hypothesis that elements of Jewish culture and religious practice may serve as barriers to accessing services to reduce caregiver burden.

Study Design and Methods: In-depth semi-structured interviews of 16 Jewish community leaders, and self-administered surveys of 160 caregivers in four large Jewish communities: New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Cleveland. Both the in-depth interviews and caregiver surveys explore the following questions: Is the community's social support network helping caregivers and are caregivers seeking and accessing available services? Is there a barrier in accessing help by segments of the Jewish community? Does religious observance or conformance with cultural norms create conflicts with accessing services? Do caregivers equate seeking help with failure to fulfill the biblical command to honor one's parents? How has the Jewish community responded to these challenges?

The caregiver surveys also employ the Zarit Burden Interview and probes the role that culture and religious practice and belief intersects with their caregiver responsibilities. Analyses are done overall and across communities.

Learning Objectives:
Identify Jewish cultural and religious factors that impact on caregiver burden. Improve professional ability to serve the needs of the Jewish community. Determine whether the Jewish community may warrant specialized, proactive culturally appropriate programming to remove barriers to care.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Initiated the study; As Founder/Director, LOY/Center for Healthy Living, Inc. a grass-roots community-based project have been providing community education, health promotion, information and referral services to the New York Jewish community, particularly elders and their caregivers since 1999. Its landmark “Caring for Our Elders” seminar series integrating the expertise of clinical professionals with those of the clergy has been replicated across the nation. Authored a self-help book for caregivers; completed a second. Active in the field of geronotology, including GHS membership for over twenty five years. Taught graduate level courses. Prior APHA Scientific Conference Presentations: "Clinical and Cultural Issues in Caring for Older Adults", "Adult Day Program Experience: Implications for Policy and Practice", and "Emergency Care of the Elderly: Experience of an HMO."
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.