In reviewing research regarding BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) caregivers, there was one major theme that I saw repeatedly: A collective mindset tends to lead to greater stability for both the caregiver and the care receiver. BIPOC communities tend to view themselves as connected and interdependent, viewing each other's struggles as a shared responsibility for the entire community and an expected part of life. Because of this mindset, BIPOC caregivers experience less of a major life shift when they become caregivers, less additional stress, and greater family support. As a result of this greater family support, BIPOC care receivers are often able to rely on informal long-term care for much longer.
What can we learn from this?
A shift from an individualistic mindset to a collective mindset improves the health experience for everyone. It leads to greater resilience, less dependence on expensive and impersonal formal systems, and a stronger sense of communal connection.
How can we make that shift?
By strengthening our bonds with our friends, family members, and neighbors; by getting involved in local events and movements; and by actively and intentionally being mindful that we are all inherently connected and have the power to make a massive impact on others, especially in collaboration with others.
As one of my favorite fictional characters would say, it is better when we "share the load."
Written by Laurie Nordahl, MSW Intern for SMUMN