United Forum to Improve Aged Care Services 


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By – Rekha Rajvanshi

More than 70 community leaders from the sub-continent representing 16 different cultural associations gathered at Burwood Coronation Club on Saturday 25th June for a Uniting forum on aged care services for culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Uniting is the largest non-profit aged care provider in NSW.  The objective of the forum was to inform and improve access to aged care services for cultural minorities in NSW.

The forum started with the welcome note by the MC for the day Anne Kalra, which was followed by an overview of Uniting Aged Care Services presented by the Director Steve Teulan. After that Cecila Milani of Partners in Culturally Appropriate Care (PICAC) spoke about the issues facing CALD communities in accessing care. Finally, Susan McCarthy of Alzheimer’s Australia (NSW) made a presentation on issues relating to dementia facing CALD communities.  Statistics and videos presented by the speakers touched everyone’s hearts. The middle session of the forum was dedicated to the community leaders. Community leaders were asked to discuss about what challenges do the people face in accessing these services and what needs to be improved. Future partnerships for providing services and supporting communities to run their own programs were also explored. Members of cultural associations also shared their concerns and experiences.

The forum reinforced the view that provision of aged care services from sub-continent communities requires a tailored, holistic approach that encompasses the cultural, social, physical and spiritual needs of each community and collaborative partnerships are possible.

With 20,000 aged care clients in NSW and ACT, Uniting wants to make sure people from all backgrounds can make informed choices about how to use available services to live the lives they wish to live. The forum reinforced our belief that this requires a tailored holistic approach that encompasses the cultural, social, physical and spiritual needs of each community. Uniting already provides culturally specific aged care services for people from 21 different language groups. The organisation will use the input from participants at the forum to shape its future work with different communities, and to tackle barriers people may face in accessing appropriate aged care.

Steve Teulan, the director of the Uniting said, ‘It was wonderful to see the exchange of all present expertise, experience, concerns and advice on aged care issues. The input of community leaders was invaluable and we are deeply grateful for the wisdom that was shared.’

‘Uniting sees cultural diversity as an asset. There is a wonderful sense of engagement, understanding, social connection and fun when people can enjoy services that value their own individuality and their culture, community and language’ said Anne Kalra.

It was indeed an informative and enjoyable event. To get involved or for more information on Uniting services, contact Anne Kalra on 02 8878 6431 or at akalra@uniting.org

The Indian Telegraph Sydney Australia

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