The Aboriginal people are the original inhabitants of Australia and have a rich culture, the heart of which is connection to the land. The Aboriginal people have many rituals, customs and spiritual practices which all centre around the land in which they live. Unfortunately, due to colonisation and destruction of their communities, this culture is disappearing and their customs are being forgotten.

Maintaining the beliefs and practices of a culture is so important, particularly one as ancient as the Aboriginal culture. The healthcare needs of Aboriginal people can be complex and many require Aged Care services at a much younger age than other ethnicities. Home Care services are extremely important, as Aged Care Homes often can’t meet the cultural needs of Aboriginal people and is not an ideal option.  Finding a Home Care provider who understands Aboriginal culture can be challenging, though not impossible. Adding to this challenge however, is the remote location of many Aboriginal communities.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program

The Australian Government has initiated additional Aged Care services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, called the Flexible Aged Care Program. This program delivers culturally appropriate aged care services in remote and rural areas of Australia.

Aged Care providers can apply to be part of this program and if approved, they will receive funding from the government to help them deliver appropriate services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Examples of “appropriate” services include:

  • Being aware of and respecting cultural traditions
  • Employment of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people to deliver services
  • Ensuring that buildings exist which are suitable to cultural activities and ceremonies
  • Including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Aged Care planning
  • Providing access to bushland gardens

The importance of Home Care for Aboriginal people

With such strong ties to the land and their community, receiving care services within their home and community is very important for Aboriginal people.

The government Home Care Package Program can help with this. Generally, this program cannot be access by anyone under the age of 65, however it is well recognised that the health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are greater and Aged Care services are required at a much earlier stage than other Australians.

As such, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can apply for a Home Care Package from the age of 50. This early intervention of Home Care can help Aboriginal people manage their often complex health needs in the comfort of their communities and without needing to move into Residential Aged Care or hospital.

Find culturally appropriate Home Care providers

If you need assistance and advice on finding a Home Care provider to meet your cultural wants and needs, speak to one of our CareAbout advisers today.