Multiculturalism and Community Care

 In Chinese Specific Aged Care

Provision of community-based care for older people from culturally and linguistically (CALD) diverse backgrounds is of increasing importance in Australia in response to the ageing population and government policies (Ageing Australia, 2015). Among the fastgrowing 65+ population, the number of older CALD people was already growing five times as quickly as the rate of Australian-born people more than a decade ago (Trang, 2003); and more recent research shows that this population is expected to rise from 23% in 201 to 30% by 2020 (Migliorino, 2013). Public health policies increasingly encourage ageing in place, which refers to living in their own home and community for as long as possible with some level of independence rather than in residential care (Frank, 2002). The expectation is that this enables CALD people, who face the challenge of cultural transition over and above ageing, to keep connected to their culture, their community, and social support including friends and families.

Due to the recent changes to Aged Care, introduced by the Australian Government, many community-based organisations are confronted with many challenging, yet exciting, changes regarding aged and community care services. The Government is committed to providing a sustainable system that supports older people, including all CALD people, who require care and services in their homes and in the community. Australia’s multicultural population is ageing rapidly and our current aged care system needs to change to keep up with future demand. These changes will see a new way of delivering in-home services that will give people more choice and control as well as easier access to services resulting in more flexible delivery of care. It will also build a better and more sustainable aged care system.

A recent article published, by a Queensland Community Care Service Provider, (McDonald, V. 2016, November, Championing Diversity, AAA Community Care Review, 11, 22-2) discusses the importance of identifying and acknowledging the individual needs of consumers from different cultures and backgrounds when delivering care in their homes. This is implemented successfully by matching the consumer to a care worker of the same (or similar) background and has multiple benefits.   The article comments on the better acceptance of people into their homes if they do speak their language; they trust them. It’s a smoother journey for everyone which ensures respect. In home support is underpinned by a wellness philosophy aimed at giving consumers’ choice, safety, consistency and independence in their own home for as long as possible. Consumers set their goals collaboratively and continue to engage in the activities and pursuits that they have always enjoyed.

The aim is to travel their journey with them, working collaboratively to tailor consumers’ lifestyle choices and support their needs.

Article by Viviene McDonald

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