Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA MAR-APL 2018 Contents I
n an ideal world older Australians from all
backgrounds would live at home for as long
as possible, receiving support if and when
required—taking into account their individual
needs, while respecting an individual’s cultural,
linguistic and spiritual traditions.
Of course, the reality is that not all Australians
live out their later years in such ideal circumstances.
However, whether at home or in aged care
facilities, our most vulnerable citizens should have
the best possible care, whatever their background.
In Australia, over 26 per cent of our population
was born outside of Australia and 37 per cent of
older people were born overseas.
Moreover, half of older Australians experience some sort
of disability. And one in 10 Australians aged over 65 lives
with cognitive impairment or dementia. The latter has special
implications for the care of older people from a culturally and
linguistically diverse (CALD) background.
With dementia, older CALD Australians can lose the
English language skills they have acquired over their lifetime
and revert to their original language. All Australians living
with dementia deser ve care that is culturally and linguistically
appropriate and respectful.
These statistics represent a stark reality: the need for older
Australians of all backgrounds to have some choice and
control over the ser vices they access so they have high quality,
dignified and culturally-appropriate care in their later years.
We have at times failed this challenge and we need to do better.
The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia
(FECCA) has been working with the Federal Government on a
range of initiatives to ensure that older Australians – no matter
their cultural background – receive the best care possible.
Late last year Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt launched
Australia’s Aged Care Diversity Framework. It represents an
important step towards a more inclusive future for aged care
ser vices for Australians of all backgrounds. The framework
recognises that older Australians are as diverse in their life
experiences and their needs as the broader population.
Australia’s move to a system of care that places the older person
at its centre has been in train for several years. It offers increased
A range of initiatives are in development to ensure older Australians, no matter their
cultural background, receive the best aged care possible, writes MARY PATETSOS.
Action plans to implement aged care’s new
diversity framework are in development.
choice and control to the senior. The aim of the
Aged Care Diversity Framework is to embed diversity
in the design and deliver y of aged care as well as to
address the perceived or actual barriers to consumers
accessing safe, equitable and quality aged care.
The framework is intended for government,
peak organisations and representative groups,
aged care service providers and consumers. It’s an
overarching document that will be implemented
through three action plans: for Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander peoples, Australians from
CALD backgrounds and lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender and intersex Australians.
FECCA, as the peak national body representing
culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Australia, is
currently working with the government on the development of
a CALD Action Plan, which will articulate detailed actions and
measures to support the diversity framework.
This plan will help older people of CALD background make
informed choices, enable accessible care and support, make the
system more proactive and flexible, enable respectful and inclusive
ser vices and meet the needs of the most vulnerable CALD groups.
It’s important the new single aged care quality standards
embrace diversity as core business, and that adequate guidance
materials are provided by the Australian Aged Care Quality
Agency to service providers so these organisation can provide
quality services to seniors with diverse requirements.
We want all providers to demonstrate continuous
improvement in providing care that meets the diverse
characteristics and life experiences of all clients.
To inform the action plan, we’re conducting nationwide
consultations with consumers and providers. We are also
currently conducting an online sur vey for providers and
consumers (go to fecca.org.au).
We support the government’s efforts to give all Australians
greater dignity and comfort in their later years, with high-
quality and culturally-appropriate aged care. We applaud
providers who strive for this level of care.
Older people, of all backgrounds, deser ve nothing less. n
Mary Patetsos is chairperson of the Federation of Ethnic
Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA).
australianageingagenda.com.au | 13
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