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Older Women of Color and the Challenge of Regulating Cultural Competence

By Georgia Burke & Katharine Hsiao

In communities of color, older women are a particularly precious resource, relied upon to transmit cultural values to the younger generation and, in many cases, to contribute to the rearing of their grandchildren and great grandchildren. Access to benefit programs that serve the needs of older women of color in appropriate languages and in a culturally competent manner is a key need for this population. Released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in October 2008, regulations concerning the self-directed option for delivery of Medicaid personal care services have provisions that, if fully implemented, would resolve issues of language, cultural competence, and community-based services and allow use of family members as paid caregivers.

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