Role of Ethno-specific and Multicultural Services

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Role of Ethno-specific and Multicultural Services

Australian society is diverse and has a growing ageing population. According to Census 2016, 49% of Australians had either been born overseas or have at least one parent who had been born overseas. Ethno-specific and multicultural agencies provide culturally specific, specialist services to seniors of non-English speaking backgrounds in Victoria, contributing significantly to the healthy ageing of the Victorian community. Ethnic and multicultural aged care agencies work in partnership with and compliment mainstream services to provide holistic aged care services for older people.

Seniors from non-English speaking backgrounds often have strong preferences for ethno-specific and multicultural services due to their expertise in providing care that responds to their cultural, linguistic and spiritual preferences and needs coupled with the long-standing relationships of trust that they have developed with the community over many years. Ethno-specific social support services also provide a culturally and linguistically safe context for older people of diverse backgrounds to socialise, enhancing connectedness and mental wellbeing whilst reducing the risk of social isolation.

Ethno-specific and multicultural aged care agencies and their bilingual workforce and health educators play a pivotal role in promoting healthy ageing, community capacity building and equitable access to aged care services for multicultural seniors. These agencies have invaluable expertise and are highly regarded in providing culturally appropriate services, which may include but are not limited to:

  • Services in specific languages
  • Cultural and spiritual care
  • Employment of bilingual staff
  • Community education
  • Culturally specific dementia and palliative care
  • Culturally appropriate food.