Home Care – Vietnamese

Australia has long been a safe haven to countless migrants who have come here seeking a better life for their families.

In the aftermath of war, many Vietnamese fled their country and sought refuge in Australia. Later, many more joined them, under the family reunion program, setting up close-knit communities throughout Australia.

Today, 38 percent of these first arrivals are aged 50 years and over. Over half of this ageing community do not speak English well, or at all. This means they may have little or no understanding of how the Aged Care system works in Australia and how to access services.

The importance of family in Vietnamese culture

Influenced by Buddhist theology and Confucian philosophy, Vietnamese people are highly family-oriented and often two or three generations live in one household. When parents grow old, the expectation is that their children will take care of them, in return for giving them the ‘gift of birth’ and raising them. As a result, the younger generation are often reluctant to seek outside help when it comes to caring for ageing parents, worried their community will see them as selfish and lacking respect for family.

However, with the demands of family and work responsibilities, providing care at home to elderly loved-ones may not always be practical and other options need to be considered.

 If you are thinking about in-home care for an elderly loved one and not quite sure where to start, the first step is to reassure that any outside help is there to supplement family care, rather than replace it. It’s also important for them to understand it is their choice as to who provides this care, the type of care they feel they need and that their family will be very much involved in the planning process.

 Accessing information about Aged Care services

If you, or are loved one you care for, are looking for information about Aged Care services, the My Aged Care website has the option of choosing to view their site in Vietnamese.

For the cost of a local call, you can also contact the government’s Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National), on 131450. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and covers more than 100 languages, including Vietnamese.

Choosing culturally appropriate Aged Care

When choosing a Home Care Package provider and setting up appropriate in-home care for an elderly loved one, there are some key questions you need to ask:

Can the agency provide bilingual, Vietnamese speaking staff, including those familiar with specific dialects? Although Vietnamese is the official language, there are distinct northern, central and southern dialects and accents.

Does the agency have an understanding of and is sensitive to your loved ones’ cultural and religious background and the rituals surrounding them?

As food is very important in Vietnamese culture, and there are specific regional variations, does the provider understand your loved one’s preferences and is able to assist with shopping and food preparation if necessary.

Making an informed choice about the type of care your loved one receives means they are more likely to be able to remain at home with family and continue to be involved in their community.