We are not just a footnote – How to progress the whole system by creating a level playing field for older people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds.

Dr Rita Afsar1, Mrs Henrietta Podgorska1

1Umbrella Multicultural Community Care Services Inc, Belmont, Australia

2Office of Multicultural Interest, Perth, Australia

Australia is one of the most culturally diverse nations, with recent projections showing that migrant communities are ageing at a significantly faster rate than the general population: by 2020 around 30% of the population aged 65 years and above will be from CALD backgrounds. Despite this, people from CaLD communities remain under-represented in aged care services and research shows that they struggle to find appropriate aged care services responsive to specific cultural needs.

The aim of the presentation is to provide an in-depth analysis of the trends and issues of this group over time using census data since 2006 to highlight their diverse needs and multiple disadvantages which prevent older people from CaLD backgrounds to fully benefiting from aged care system. Furthermore, frontline experience from one of the multicultural aged care providers from Perth will present the narrative and feedback that is coming from the communities and how the government and mainstream organisation can engage with CaLD seniors. Providers can play an active role in resolving these issues such as engaging with more person-centred, relationship-focused initiatives and community activation strategies. These strategies can enhance meaningful engagement of people from diverse age, sexual orientation and cultural backgrounds reducing social isolation, ageism and help promoting empathy. The aim is to present best practices which demonstrates that by placing the most vulnerable groups at the heart of every policy development and service provision, will not only benefit a few clients, but also can improve the system for all.

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