Cultural Differences in Caregiving
Professionals working with people with TBI and their families should have knowledge about different cultural backgrounds and traditions.
I have been doing some research with people in South America, and when you ask them, especially to caregivers, how satisfied they are with life, you can see that they say that they are very, very satisfied with their lives as caregivers. But when you do research here in this country with American caregivers, you can see that you feel that they report they have a lot of levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. In this culture you define yourself as the things you achieve in life. Did you win an award? Did you get a higher education? Did you have a better job? Yeah, you are very successful. But in other cultures, that is not the more important. The more important is the kind of person that you are. It doesn't matter if you have a PhD. It doesn't matter if you have been getting all of the awards. It doesn't matter if you have been very successful of work. It's more about person, about family, about feelings. And when you have a family member that has TBI or has a spinal cord injury, your personal life goes to that second position, and you will be living more to provide service to your family member, to love your family member, to spend time with your family member, because that will be more important in life than going back to work or to other things that will be beneficial for you, not for your family member.
Posted on BrainLine April 1, 2009.
Juan Carlos Arango-Lasprilla, PhD is currently a research assistant professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is well-known in his areas of expertise, both in the US and abroad.