Dignified: A Filipina Taking Pride in Caregiving


A Filipina Caregiving Story as told by Terry Villasenor of the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC)

“I’m a mother of six children and I’ve been away from my family for six years. I have experienced sacrifices I never expected. When I got my first job in Hawaii, I had to call 911 because I was being abused and treated like a slave. I was there for twenty-two days before I was rescued.

But I didn’t give up because I had to pay for my children’s education and sustain their personal needs. Year after year, I worked with many elderly patients. This changed my perspective on helping the community. Now, I’m happy to say that I’m a dignified caregiver and I think caregiving is beautiful.

I had a patient with multiple sclerosis who told me, ‘I think I’m ready to go.’ That was the hardest moment for me because I could feel her emotions, her sadness. I felt what she felt because we were connected.

I encouraged her by saying: You might be in this situation, but the world is so beautiful. You can sleep, you can eat, and you can still see the world. All of us must go, but why not leave it up to our Creator to decide who goes next? You have a life to live right now. Let’s have faith that there’s a purpose why you’re here. Look at me, I’m miles away from my family; I can’t see my kids. Do you feel bad for me? I don’t because there’s a purpose. I’m here to help you.

This is an amazing job. It’s not easy, but it’s not difficult if you know how to manage this responsibility. Don’t be driven by the compensation because that will come later. Do the best job you can when caregiving, but don’t forget your dignity. Don’t hide the fact that you are a caregiver. Be proud that you are helping the community. Just do your part—heart, mind, and soul.”

NextDayBetter x AARP AAPI Community is a storytelling campaign inspired by AAPI caregiving. How do you give care? 


Cultural Caregiving for Aging Asian Americans

Caregiving for aging adults among Asian Americans comes with cultural attitudes, beliefs, and practices that can be starkly different from those of the general population. Many of these adults are immigrants who struggle adjusting to a new environment and the acculturated lifestyle of their children. As their friends, loved ones, and healthcare providers, how can we give the kind of care that respects their traditional cultures while meeting their most basic needs?

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