Ageing CALD people need appropriate care – report
Aged care services should be adapted to suit the needs of new and emerging ethnic communities, according to multicultural lobby group The Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV).
The ECCV appealed to Victorian and federal budget decision-makers to commit to better support for ethnic groups.
In a discussion paper, Building New Bridges, launched by Victorian Health Minister David Davis at Broadmeadows last week, the ECCV called on governments and the aged-care sector to strengthen their engagement with new and emerging communities in Victoria.
The paper, aimed to help close service gaps with innovative solutions, said a growing proportion of older people from new and emerging communities lacked access to culturally responsive services.
“Building New Bridges is about reaching out, engaging, and partnering with new and emerging communities,” said ECCV deputy chairwoman Marion Lau.
“The three symbolic pillars of such bridges are multicultural communities, government, and aged care and health services. We believe working closely together is essential in improving access to services for this growing proportion of our community,” she said.
“The number of older people from new and emerging communities is significant – about 100,000 people aged 55 and over belong to new and emerging communities in Victoria,” Ms Lau.
Minister Davis acknowledged the wider implications of providing for culturally and linguistically diverse communities. “Right now in Victoria, we know there is growing need for services for seniors in these communities,” he said.
The ECCV also called on all political parties to uphold the principles of the Multicultural Victoria Act 2011.
This included: the redistribution of resources to improve fair and equitable access for Victoria’s large multicultural population; recognition of culturally diverse Victorians through real service responses to their cultural and language needs; and representation by giving a voice to culturally diverse Victorians.
Former senior bureaucrat and academic Professor Peter Shergold told last year’s Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) conference that aged care and ageing services for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) people are set to undergo revolutionary change as Australia comes to grips with an ageing population and spiralling public health bills.
Professor Shergold, who heads the Federal Government’s Aged Care Reform Implementation Council (ACRIC), says we are on the verge of “potentially monumental change in the aged care sector”.
“New initiatives can, if implemented with courage and vision, deliver the sorts of services we want.” “Aged care is a large, complex and diverse area of public policy. There is a diversity of providers and both public and private and including the not-for-profit sector,” he said.
“There are three things that are key to the reforms we are seeking – diversity, choice and flexibility. “There shouldn’t be a ‘one size fits all’ in aged care. We need to give people from different ethnic cultural and religious backgrounds access to services that are culturally appropriate and sensitive to their needs or previous traumatic experience.
“It is clear that services are best delivered in ways that are sensitive to the person’s cultural background or religion,” he said. Professor Shergold said giving people choice was also a priority for the council. “This is about giving the citizen the right to get what he or she needs; the right to live a full, engaged life,” he said.
“It’s about saying ‘here’s the package’, here are the dollars – now you choose what you want.” Officially labelled ‘Consumer Direct Care’, Professor Shergold described the approach as “services that can be wrapped around an individual with the support of community organisations”.