Aged care culturally & linguistically diverse Australians

30 January 2013

Minister for Ageing Mark Butler, joined local Federal MP’s Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones at the Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra in Wollongong today to discuss the government’s recently announced aged care strategy for people from CALD backgrounds.

The Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) strategy will help inform the delivery of Living Longer Living Better – the Federal Government’s $3.7 billion aged care reform package.

Ms Bird said the growing number of older people from CALD backgrounds in the Wollongong area have specific needs that must be addressed.

“Older people from CALD backgrounds often have different cultural, linguistic and spiritual needs which can affect the type of care and services they want and need.”

Mr Jones said that the onset of dementia can cause older people from CALD backgrounds to lose their English language skills and revert to their first language.

“Language skills present a unique challenge for people affected by Dementia, their families and aged care providers.”

Mr Butler said the strategy is designed to inform the way Government supports the aged care sector to deliver care and services.

“Around 20 per cent of people aged over 65 years were born outside Australia and by 2021 that number will rise to 30 per cent.”

“It’s important that services can be delivered in an appropriate and sensitive way that meets the needs of older people from CALD backgrounds.”

Initiatives outlined in the Strategy include:

-        Develop structured pathways to facilitate the employment of appropriate bilingual staff in the aged care system. -        A ‘rolling review’ of the National Aged Care Advocacy Program (NACAP) to include an emphasis on promoting, supporting and maximising access to advocacy for older people from CALD backgrounds, their families and carers. -        Ensure that the Aged Care Complaints Scheme is promoted to CALD communities, including by use of interpreting and translating services. -        Work with the CALD sector to provide cultural competency training for promotion and incorporation into all aged care services.

The Strategy is available at http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/ageing-cald-national-aged-care-strategy