Older people face tremendous life changes, often within a short period of time. Ongoing emotional support is required to assist them to cope with the experiences of bereavement and illness, and in adjusting to becoming a care recipient.
Entering into the aged care system - either as a resident in an aged care facility or as a community care recipient - is an enormous change, and people may undergo feelings of loss, anxiety, frustration, anger or grief. This change may also cause some people to relive past traumas.
The experience can be even more emotionally overwhelming for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, who may find many aspects of their new life and care services completely unfamiliar - and who may be at greater risk of isolation due to language issues.
Ensuring the cultural, linguistic and spiritual needs of your care recipients are addressed across all services will assist in the provision of culturally appropriate emotional support. Communication needs in particular must be addressed. Encouraging and facilitating the preferred language of your care recipients enables participation, reduces social isolation and facilitates a sense of belonging.
- Identify, address and regularly review the emotional support needs of your care recipients.
- Conduct the entry and orientation program in the preferred language of your care recipients
- Provide emotional support services in the preferred language of your care recipients.
- Consult family members regarding the emotional support your care recipients may require.
- Encourage families to visit and support care recipients.
- Consider establishing support groups for families in different languages.
- Assist your care recipients to maintain community and other support networks.
- Explore the availability of volunteers to provide recreational visits to isolated care recipients in their preferred language.
- Understand that a person's expression of emotion – including his or her response to loss and grief – is influenced by culture.
- Ensure that cultural diversity is addressed across all services, including health and personal care, food services and leisure activities programs.
- Ensure your care recipients have access to culturally appropriate spiritual support.
- Ensure that staff have been trained in cultural awareness and appropriate communication.
Additional Resources and Links
- Multicultural Mental Health Information
Multicultural Mental Health Australia
MMHA has developed a number of resources and translations available in the following languagues: Amharic, Arabic, Assyrian, Chinese, Croatian, Dari, Dinka, Greek, Italian, Khmer, Korean, Macedonian, Persian, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swahili, Turkish, Vietnamese.
- Diversity, Multiculturalism and Mental Health
beyondblue: the national depression initiative
beyondblue has partnered with Multicultural Mental Health Australia to provide information about depression in the following languages: Arabic, Assyrian, Bosnian, Cambodian / Khmer, Chinese - Simplified, Chinese - Traditional, Croatian, Dari, Farsi / Persian, Greek, English, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Lao, Macedonian, Polish, Punjabi, Russian, Serbian, Somalian, Spanish, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese.
- Community Visitors' Scheme
Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing
The Community Visitors' Scheme is a national program that provides companionship to socially isolated people living in Australian Government-funded aged care facilities. Contact the Commonwealth Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222 to find ethno-specific auspices in your service area.
Use our National Resources Search for additional resources and links including resources developed under the Community Partners Program (CPP) and the Partners in Culturally Appropriate Care (PICAC) Initiative.