701 N. Post Oak Rd., Ste. 330, Houston, TX 77024 | firstname.lastname@example.org|www.interfaithcarepartners.org
“Informal caregiving is promoted within the Afric
an American extended familysystem because it is often highly integrated and is an important resource for
survival and social mobility for its members.”
Many families have a strong matriarch that “holds” the family together. Typically,
this is the eldest mother or grandmother. The matriarch is the center of thefamily sometimes even if a male is present. The lack of strong male presence inthe family is usually a reason the matriarch thrives. The matriarch will possessstrong feminine and masculine attributes by virtue of familial or societal need tosurvive.It is not unusual for generations to live within the same household. When visiting yourcare partner you may encounter extended family members such as grandchildren,nephews, nieces, or even neighbors and non-relatives who have known the person andfamily for many years; all of whom may play an important role in the support of your
care partner. Remember to acknowledge, understand, and respect each person‟s role.
The acceptance of your help may be a last desperate attempt to manage the care oftheir loved one. A desire for privacy, skepticism, suspicion, guilt, and high stress levelsmay be initial reactions to outside support. Accordingly, it may take time to establish arapport and eventually build a relationship.
The Role of the Church and Religious Belief
The church may play an important role in the lives of African Americans. Traditionally,the Black church has been a pillar in the African American community with regard topromoting/defending civil rights, as well as addressing social issues. The churchremains an integral part of the lives of many African Americans even today. It providesa social, emotional, and spiritual support system. Studies have shown that older adultsdemonstr
ate a high level of “religiosity and affiliations with churches and other spiritualinstitutions.”
Additionally, numerous studies have found that African Americansattribute God as their greatest source of support even with regard to physical care, aswell as prayer being their major coping strategy! Do not think it strange when your carepartner proclaims his/her great faith in overcoming, what may seem to you as,tremendous physical or financial barriers.
Unless your care partner has given you the explicit permission to address him/her by
his/her first name, it is respectable to address him/her as “Mrs.” or “Sir.” If you arecomfortable with the southern custom of replying, “Yes Ma‟am,” or “Yes Sir,” you are
also safe. This gesture is appropriate for anyone considered your elder. Titles are veryimportant in the African American community. It is best to know and use them until
given permission to do otherwise. Using one‟s title or former title can also be a means
of reminding a care partner with memory challenges of his/her formerposition/occupation/role. Therefore, you might refer to your care partner as DeaconJohnson or Mother Wilson, etc.