Latinos age 65 or older have a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes, and more severe complications from the disease, compared to non-Latino Whites. Latino elders'consequent risks for functional impairment and permanent disability raise questions about their family environment and the role caregivers play in helping them to manage the disease. Studying the family environment is important for addressing and eventually eliminating Latinos'health disparities arising from this chronic disease. The purpose of this Career Development Award is to provide mentored research and professional training to prepare me for a career as a federally-funded, independent investigator on health disparities and aging research in the area of family care of older Latinos. My immediate goals are to 1) develop a research program that characterizes the care of older adults within the Mexican-origin family;and 2) develop proficiency in culturally-relevant interventions for Latino elders and their caregivers. I propose to move my research beyond the female caregiver, toward a family level approach to elder care along one specific health dimension, management of type 2 diabetes. The K01 award builds directly on my current work by 1) including the perspectives of caregiving men and diabetic care-receiving elders;and 2) examining the process of family elder care through observation of caregiver-care receiver dyads (CG-CR dyad) in home settings. I propose three phases of research that culminate in developing and evaluating the feasibility of a CG-CR dyad intervention to improve care receiving Latino elders'diabetes outcomes. The training aspect of this award will provide me with in-depth knowledge in: 1) theory development and measurement of family care of Latino elders;2) observational methods in home settings;and 3) intervention development and evaluation. My long-term objective is to establish a research trajectory based on theoretical and empirical principles that can be applied in real-world settings to improve the health outcomes of community-dwelling Latino elders. The interdisciplinary mentoring team I put together and my affiliations with the UCLA RCMAR and the UCLA School of Public Health provide the infrastructure to support these endeavors.
The proposed research focuses on older Latinos, the largest and second fastest aging sub-population in the United States. Many older Latinos have diabetes and suffer severe consequences from the disease, leading to poor health and disability. This research looks at the role of family caregivers in Latino elders'management of diabetes, one step toward finding ways to improve Latino elders'health in this area.
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