Culture is a set of shared customs, values, and beliefs.

For health and human service workers, the necessity of gaining cultural competency and cultural proficiency cannot be overstated.

The definitions of illness, the role of family, religion/spirituality, language use, and the employment of healing/treatment techniques in health care provision and seeking are all shaped by the peculiarities of these communities. It’s impossible to overstate the diversity across the many Hispanic/Latino ethnic groups regarding patterns of behavior, beliefs, and values linked to health care seeking that can be attributed to the Hispanic/Latino label. Health care practitioners should elicit elders’ world views and the explanatory models of illness provided in Module Four of the Core Curriculum in Ethnogeriatrics.

Hispanic/Latino elders’ perspective is shaped by cultural themes exclusive to Mexican Americans and other Hispanic/Latino seniors.

Older Hispanic/Latino Americans


To help health care students better understand the needs of older Hispanic/Latino Americans, the Ethnogeriatric Curriculum for Hispanic/Latino Elders includes this lesson. The following are included:

  • In-depth explanations of the population terminology.
  • Data on demographics and the sources of information
  • Analysis of death and illness data

a little background on:

  • The history of the various ethnic groupings
  • Complementary and alternative medicine, hospice and end-of-life care, as well as cultural traditions and health beliefs and values
  • Geriatric assessment requires a culturally competent background and abilities.
  • Elderly Hispanic/Latino people face unique challenges in healthcare.
  • a look at the availability and consumption of medical services
  • Male or Female, Married or Single, and Living Situations

Aspects of Sexual Orientation and Age

Hispanic/Latino elders, like their non-Hispanic white counterparts and other minority ethnic groups, are more likely to be women than men over 65. shows the percentages of the various age groups in the different ethnic groups in terms of population distribution by gender, age, and Hispanic origin. The Cuban population has a higher percentage of older men and women than the rest of the world’s older people. In the 55–64 age bracket, there are more Cuban men than Cuban women. Except for Central and South American males, where there were not enough data to report, there are decreasing proportions of older Mexican American men and women in all age groups.

Relationship Status

The Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics identified marital status as one of the 31 indicators of the well-being of older individuals and their families in Older Americans 2008: Key Indicators of Well-Being. A person’s marital status influences emotional and economic well-being due to the implications for their living situation and access to family caretakers. Hispanic/Latino 65 and older men are married at a rate of more than half, and women are married at a rate of about 38 percent.