Social Support

Support from Immediate Family

While most indicators of family support indicate that, in general, elders from ethnic populations other than white receive higher levels of support from members of their immediate families, within each ethnic group there are isolated elders with weak or no family ties (Yeo & Gallagher-Thompson, 2006).

Role of Elders within their Families

Elders play important roles within their families in many ethnic communities, providing support through child care and financial assistance.

Extended Family

Assistance of extended family members in caring for frail elders is common among many ethnic communities. Examples are families from African American, Mexican American, Filipino, and Vietnamese backgrounds.

Non-Family Support

Non-family support has been found to be common among African Americans in cases where fictive kin relationships are strong and, in many cases, where elders are members of cohesive church communities. In ethnic groups where clan relationships are strong, such as Hmong and some American Indian communities, clan members can also be a strong source of support.