Aging black and Hispanic adults use nursing homes less often than non- Hispanic whites, and if this continues, frailty and infirmity within these groups will likely translate to greater need for family assistance. Yet, traditional expectations that parents should be taken care of at home are becoming increasingly unrealistic. Ideally, social policy, then, should focus on preserving the capacity of the family to remain maximally involved in the care of older parents, while recognizing the high probability of the eventual need for formal state-based support. In particular, they should promote the effective use of culturally based options that increase the choices available to older persons, providing a crucial supplement to the family as the main source of support. These efforts would be consistent with the new health care law, which provides the legal mandate and foundation for strengthening transitional care and support among family caregivers.
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