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11/01/2019

Sec. Torres Champions Growth and Diversity at PA Latino Conference

Bethlehem, PADepartment of Aging Secretary Robert Torres, serving as opening keynote speaker at the 2nd Annual Pennsylvania Latino Convention in Bethlehem, informed the audience of government, business and community leaders, educators and students on the state of aging issues and services in Pennsylvania. He challenged them to help change the narrative on aging as Pennsylvania's older adult population continues to increase. Sec. Torres also discussed the state's growing aging Latino population and how the Department of Aging is working to reach, serve and empower an increasingly diverse Pennsylvania. 

"Pennsylvania's Latino population grew by 28.5% since 2010 – almost double the national Latino growth rate," Sec. Torres said, who is Pennsylvania's first Latino to serve as Secretary of Aging. "What's more, Pennsylvania's Latino population growth accounts for more than 50% of the state's population growth in the last two decades." 

Sec. Torres noted that while America's older population is expected to double in the next three decades, aging Latinos will experience the most dramatic growth of any group, almost 14%. By 2050, it is projected that Latinos will account for 20% of all Americans age 65 and older.

Sec. Torres also emphasized the importance of becoming aware of aging services and using them when needed.  According to the National Hispanic Council on Aging's 2018 Status of Hispanic Older Adults:

  • Providing assistance for older generations is a source of great cultural pride within Latino communities, yet almost half (44%) of these caregivers reported feeling stressed and even overwhelmed by the caregiving responsibility.
  • What motivates Latinos to become caregivers to their older adults is based on their cultural values that are passed on from generation to generation.
  • Latino family caregivers in the U.S. spend more of their time and money caring for a loved one compared to the rest of the population. On average, Latino family caregivers spend 44% of their annual income on caregiving-related expenses and 52% more time per week giving care.

"Caregiving is a beloved tradition in our community," said Torres. "But caregiving can also be overwhelming physically, financially and emotionally. It's ok to ask for a bit of help sometimes."

Sec. Torres urged the audience to avail themselves of the Department of Aging's services including its Caregiver Support Program, administered through its local Area Agencies on Aging.   

To learn more about the Caregiver Support Program, contact your local Area Agency on Aging. These agencies can be located here.
Learn more about the Pennsylvania Department of Aging here.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Karen Gray, 717-705-3702,  karengray@pa.gov

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