With almost 20% of Australians aged over the age of 50 born in non-English speaking countries, we are one of the most culturally diverse nations in the world.
As our population ages, the government, together with the aged care sector, faces the challenge of being able to provide quality care that is culturally appropriate and sensitive to the needs of this diverse group.
If you happen to be an older person from a culturally and linguistically diverse background (CALD), or you happen to be caring for someone from this background, being able to talk to someone in your own language, who understands your background and the types of services you may need is very important.
The government’s My Aged Care website is set up to help you access aged care information in other languages and you can do this in several ways:
If you need to talk to a staff member at the office of My Aged Care, you can contact a translating and interpreting service (TIS National) and ask for the services of an interpreter. For the cost of a local call, this service provides access to phone and on-site interpreters speaking more than one hundred and sixty languages and is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. www.tisnational.gov.au.
On the My Aged Care website, you can also access information in 22 languages, including Korean, Simplified Chinese (Mandarin), Traditional Chinese (Cantonese), Vietnamese, Arabic, Italian and Greek.
The site also allows you to download information brochures in several languages, from Spanish to Cantonese.
Accessing culturally appropriate care
Once you have gone through the formal assessment process with My Aged Care and are eligible for support, finding appropriate care is the next important step.
Fortunately, throughout Australia, there are now many aged care organisations, including both residential and home care providers, that cater to specific cultural groups. Depending on your background, they are set up to ensure their clients’ cultural and spiritual needs are respected, by providing appropriate food, activities and access to your community.
With the number of older people from CALD backgrounds needing care, these organisations are also focussed on making sure their staff receive specialised training that helps them understand the specific needs of clients from these backgrounds and to translate that knowledge into culturally appropriate aged care practices. Many organisations are now actively recruiting staff from similar cultural backgrounds as their clients to ensure they remain connected to their community and care workers have a better understanding of their needs.
As the aged care sector expands and becomes more diverse, there are many care options available for older Australians from CALD backgrounds and opportunities to remain in their own home, if they wish, or move into residential care that respects their cultural and spiritual needs.
For further information about accessing culturally appropriate, quality aged care options in your local area, contact CareAbout on 1300 036 028.