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Discussion

A person's background is one of a multitude of factors that determines the educational and professional opportunities that he or she will have. Background includes a person's culture, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, language, religion, and education. In the United States, people from CALD backgrounds are typically a minority that is part of an ethnic, religious, or linguistic minority. CALD individuals come from a variety of cultural and linguistic backgrounds in which they are not the dominant culture. Culturally And Linguistically Diverse (CALD) background refers to the culture and language that a person hails from (Pham et. al., 2021). For example, if someone is an Indian-American, they would be considered of CALD background.

Discrimination is something that many people experience on a constant basis. People who can be classified as CALD, or Culturally And Linguistically Diverse, are often the target of discrimination. They often face employment barriers, prejudiced laws, and more (Ferdinand, Paradies & Kelaher, 2015). As a result of these obstacles in their lives, it can be difficult for them to succeed. Sadly, discrimination is still a major problem faced by CALD people. They are portrayed as terrorists and criminals in the media and cornered into society's margins. However, CALD people are the backbone of any nation and help make it strong.

This paper predominantly deals with the role of social workers in Australian aged care with respect to discrimination of older people from a CALD background. Discrimination is faced by people all over the world on the basis of caste, class, religion, political view, disability, color, gender, culture, and domains that can be rarely imagined. It is faced by people of all ages from birth till death. Therefore, the focus of this paper remains on the discrimination of older people who hail from this CALD background.

The Culturally And Linguistically Diverse Background is a term that has been gradually incorporated into the worldwide education system. The idea of this concept is to promote inclusion in schools, in order to ensure that students are exposed to a variety of cultures and languages. The term is closely related to the concept of multiculturalism and values-based education. In the US, this practice was most commonly associated with bilingual education. However, the term has been expanded to include children from a range of ethnic backgrounds and languages who are not necessarily identified as bilingual (Woolfenden et. al., 2015). This includes multilingual children in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Western European countries. The purpose of this type of education is to expose students to cultural, linguistic, and ethnic diversity while they are still young in order to prepare them for life in an increasingly diverse society. This practice is often seen as the best way for students to develop an understanding of cultures other than their own and build better relationships with other members of society.

Discrimination faced by older people on the basis of Culturally And Linguistically Diverse backgrounds is a great issue. It is important to understand that the older population is growing rapidly, and it's important to take action to address this issue. In order to do so, we need to create more awareness about the issue and start implementing more changes in policies, legislation, and services. With the growing older population, there is a need to address this issue. The government, public policies, and services are needed to create more awareness about the issues faced by older people who identify with culturally diverse backgrounds. With more awareness comes changes in policies, which can lead to a better understanding of discrimination faced by older people on the basis of Culturally Diverse Backgrounds (CDBs) and better support for older people within a multicultural society (Pho et. al., 2021). A lot of people face discrimination for reasons that are beyond their control. One common type of discrimination faced by older people is ageism. Another type of discrimination faced by older people is on the basis of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Background on CALD

With the increase in the aging population and the demand for aged care services, it is necessary to ensure that older people are treated equally and with dignity. One way to do this is to educate social workers about their role in the aged care sector, including discrimination against older people from a Culturally And Linguistically Diverse background. Australian society is aging and it is estimated that the aging population will grow to over a quarter of the total population by 2050 (Moss et. al., 2019). Along with this increase, there has been an increase in demand for aged care services. This shows that the aged care industry will be a growing market in the coming years. With this growth, older people are increasingly becoming disenfranchised, leading to the discrimination of older people from a Culturally And Linguistically Diverse background. In recent times, discrimination against older people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds has become a major issue in aged care. There is an increasing population of culturally and linguistically diverse adults in Australia's aged care sector. This population is one that has been historically disadvantaged, along with other groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and those with a disability. Aging populations from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds have particular needs with respect to information, support, education, and social participation (Mohammad, Saini & Chaar, 2015). This is in line with existing research that shows that older people who are indigenous are often the most disadvantaged in Australian aged care settings. There is an increased requirement for social workers to become more culturally and linguistically diverse in order to provide care for CALD older people. With this, it is necessary that social workers are educated about their role in providing care for these older people, including the need to provide care that is culturally sensitive. Research is required on the Australian Indigenous population in order to understand the needs of this group from a social worker's perspective. There is limited research on how CALD older people view their mental health, wellbeing, and cultural identity and it would be beneficial for social workers to be aware of these views so they can ensure that care provided for them is culturally sensitive.

The report "Age and Disadvantage in Australia" by the Australian Human Rights Commission states that social workers play an important role in aged care, especially with respect to discrimination against older people from a Culturally And Linguistically Diverse background (Australian Human Rights Commission. (2016). The report highlights the fact that it is crucial for social workers to be aware of their obligation "to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services" and to "teach carers about cultural differences". The report also states that older people from culturally diverse backgrounds may experience discrimination in the provision of support services.

The goal of this paper is to explore the laws and policies related to the discrimination of older people from Culturally And Linguistically Diverse backgrounds in Australia. In order to understand the issue, it is necessary to have an idea about the general perceptions about older people in these countries. Some of the common perceptions are-

  • Older people are respected because they deserve it.
  • Older people should be respected because they are wise and experienced.    
  • Older people don't need much attention or help, they are independent.
  • Older people are a burden to their children.
  • Older people have been in this country for so long, and have contributed so much, that it would be unfair to force them into retirement.
  • Older people are not as attractive and desirable to employers as they used to be.

Laws and Policies in Australia

A country is a geographically distinct area with its own government. The country in this paper refers to Australia, so the attitudes of the country towards older people will is explored.

The Australian government has enacted laws and policies to combat the discrimination of old people of the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse background. The Australian law prohibits direct or indirect discrimination on the basis of age, race, or disability in any area of public life (Jeong et. al., 2015). This law is aimed at eliminating discrimination in matters concerning education, employment, accommodation, provision of goods and services as well as access to public places. The Australian Bureau of Statistics indicates that, in 2010, the average life expectancy for Australians at birth was 81.7 years (78.1 years for males and 84.9 years for females) (Temple et. al., 2021). In 2010, the average age of death in Australia was 83.3 years old (80.3 years old for males and 86.1 years old for females) (Temple et. al., 2021). Race, Ethnicity, and Language- Race refers to the ethnic background of an individual (Bulmer, 2018). The term "race" can be used in its biological or social scientific meaning. In the biological sense, the race is one of several types of human populations within a species (such as humans) that have evolved within that species over time for distinct genetic reasons. In the social scientific sense, the race is often used in the context of ethnicity, which is a more general term that encompasses cultural and linguistic traits.- There are five basic geographical races: Caucasoids (Europeans), Mongoloids (East Asians), Australoids (Australians), Negritos (pygmy peoples), and Capoids (West Africans).

According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, all Australians are entitled to human rights, equality, and non-discrimination. The commission has four main ways of dealing with discrimination (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2014). The first is prevention through education and awareness campaigns. The second is complaint investigation, which deals with potential breaches of the Act or other laws. Thirdly, conciliation is a process where the parties come together to reach a mutually agreeable outcome without the need for a formal complaint or investigation. The last option is litigation, which is the final step in dealing with breaches of the Act or other laws. The Australian Human Rights Commission does not proactively investigate reports of discrimination. They investigate and conciliate complaints, which are more often than not handled by their staff counselors at their national discrimination inquiries hotline. If a complaint goes to litigation, it may be the case that the complainant will need legal representation.

The social worker plays an important role in Australian aged care and the well-being of the older people in it. They are needed to deal with discrimination against older people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The social worker is needed to help the older people in Australian aged care integrate into the community and to help them find a new way of life (Howard et. al., 2018). They play an important role in directing and supporting older people who want to move away from their families or who have reached a stage where they can no longer live at home. The social worker also helps prepare for the older people's future, by assisting them to make a will, for example. The social worker can be seen as one of the roles that are often needed to support and direct those who have aged in Australia. They help older people who are in need of assistance and support with rehabilitation from the effects of dementia or any other mental health issue. The role of social workers in Australian aged care with respect to discrimination of older people from a Culturally And Linguistically Diverse background is not much explored. This is an area of research that would require more attention to elucidate the meaning of cultural diversity and how it is represented in Australian aged care. In terms of the focus on discrimination, this article does not mention anything about the kind of discrimination experienced by older people from Culturally And Linguistically Diverse backgrounds.  There is a pressing need to understand the role of social workers in Australian aged care with respect to discrimination against older people from a Culturally And Linguistically Diverse background in care homes. The most important outcome should be a set of recommendations for the Australian Government to adopt to improve aged care for older people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in Australia. The majority of social workers in Australia have been educated to believe that an individual has a "right" to grow old. The research data of Australia does provide evidence that the long-held belief of individuals having a right to grow old is not always true and needs revision because it is not always in the best interest of older people. According to recent research, the researchers completed a questionnaire on the experiences of social workers in Australia who work with older people. The findings indicate that most working social workers have little knowledge of how to support older people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and some are reluctant to seek out support due to fear of discrimination or negative consequences (Green et. al., 2018).

Role of Social Workers

Social exclusion and discrimination of older people from a Culturally And Linguistically Diverse background is an issue that affects the aged care sector in Australia. While there are many programs and initiatives in place to address this issue, there are still significant gaps in this area. Social workers can play a critical role in improving the provision of aged care services by addressing social exclusion, and discrimination and reducing negative stereotyping of older people from Culturally And Linguistically Diverse backgrounds. Social workers are one of the professions which have an opportunity to address social exclusion, discrimination, and negative stereotyping of older people from Culturally And Linguistically Diverse backgrounds. Social workers can work across diverse community agencies including, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Workers, state government departments, and non-government organizations to encourage the provision of social services that operate in a non-discriminatory and equitable way (Korhonen et. al., 2019). Older people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds have been experiencing social exclusion, discrimination, and negative stereotyping. Social workers have an opportunity to address this through action in the following ways.

1) Promote a non-discriminatory and equitable way of operating in their agencies: This includes working with employers, organisations providing services to the elderly, local councils and other professionals.

2) Actively address issues around racism and social exclusion, such as the need to challenge stereotypes that lead to discrimination: Social workers who want to work with older people should be attentive to their own thoughts and feelings about race, culture, and language.

3) Engage in conversations about the politics of aging: This is important because it helps in understanding how older people can be the agents of change in their own lives.

It is important for social workers to acknowledge and understand that an aging population is not a homogeneous group. This means that there is a range of needs and experiences among older people as they age, which may differ between countries, ethnicities, cultures, and genders.

The Australian aged care sector is not without its critics. Recently, there has been a lot of focus on the discrimination older people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds face when accessing aged care services. There is also increasing concern around the quality and safety of aged care provided in Australia (Wohler & Dantas, 2017). The quality of care is a major concern. In Australia, the number of aged care workers far outweighs the number of patients. A report by the Australian Institute for Private Health found there was a need for 20-30% more staff to provide adequate care for the elderly (Wohler & Dantas, 2017). There are also concerns about how Australia provides care for the elderly with less than 5 % of the total aged care workforce deemed to have sufficient training for the role (Wohler & Dantas, 2017). The Australian aged care system is not meeting the needs of older people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. The report by the National Aging Research Institute, “Aging without Poverty: Older people from CALD backgrounds in Australia”, shows that one in three older Australians living in poverty is of CALD background (Kappelides, Bould & Bigby, 2021). This problem is particularly acute for older refugees, as many have limited English skills and few opportunities to participate in the workforce. Society is changing and with it the retirement policy. Recent reports have shown a growing number of people are delaying their retirement or returning to work before they reach age 65 due to increased demand in the workforce. In response to these concerns, the Australian government has taken a number of initiatives including expanding aged care subsidies, increasing funding for aged care workers, and working with private providers on quality. The Australian government has also introduced a National Ageing Strategy which aims to address issues such as aged care and population aging by increasing government funding for aged care workers, developing a digital platform for health and aged care services, the establishment of an accreditation system for health and aged care providers, expanding government services including family planning, stamp duty concessions on property purchases by older Australians, an age-friendly website to support aging in place and improved dementia support.

Challenges faced by CALD older people

In Australia, the majority of people requiring aged care are from Culturally And Linguistically Diverse backgrounds. Yet old age care services have continued to be predominantly catered to Caucasian Australians, who historically dominated the Australian population. This has led to an environment where older people from minority backgrounds feel unwelcome and discriminated against, which has been a challenge for policymakers and service providers alike. In the last few decades, there has been an increase in the number of Australians aged 65 and over (Dickins & Thomas, 2016). At the same time, rates of poverty among older Australians have increased. In light of these statistics, it is essential that we understand how ageism intersects with issues of race and culture in Australia. Aged care has always been an important part of the lives of Australians, and with the increasing aging population, it is imperative that we look at how to better serve a diverse range of people. For Australian aged care providers, this means working towards improving services for those people with a culturally and linguistically diverse background.

Conclusion

The Australian aged care system has been struggling to meet the demands of an aging population for many years, with the current rate of growth suggesting that by 2050, one in every four Australians will be aged 65 or over. As a result, there is an increased need to provide aged care services closer to where people live. As the population ages, Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck has been taking steps to ensure that the sector continues to meet demand in the coming decades. The number of aged people is growing rapidly. It means society has to take care of them. As they are living in their golden age, they should be taken good care of. They deserve a more comfortable old age because they have spent more time on this earth. The aged people should be taken more care of than in the past and there should be more respect for them.

References 

Australian Human Rights Commission. (2014). Equal before the law: Towards disability justice strategies. https://apo.org.au/node/68163

Australian Human Rights Commission. (2016). Willing to work: national inquiry into employment discrimination against older Australians and Australians with disability (2016). https://humanrights.gov.au/sites/default/files/document/publication/WTW_2016_Full_Report_AHRC_ac_0.pdf

Bulmer, M. (2018). Race and ethnicity. In Key variables in social investigation (pp. 54-75). Routledge. DOI: 10.4324/9781351170000-4

Dickins, M., & Thomas, A. (2016). Gambling in culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Australia (No. AGRC Discussion paper no. 7). Australian Gambling Research Centre. https://healthwest.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/agrc-dp7-gambling-cald.pdf

Ferdinand, A. S., Paradies, Y., & Kelaher, M. (2015). Mental health impacts of racial discrimination in Australian culturally and linguistically diverse communities: A cross-sectional survey. BMC Public Health, 15(1), 1-14. DOI: 10.1186/s12889-015-1661-1

Green, A., Jerzmanowska, N., Green, M., & Lobb, E. A. (2018). ‘Death is difficult in any language’: a qualitative study of palliative care professionals’ experiences when providing end-of-life care to patients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Palliative medicine, 32(8), 1419-1427. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269216318776850

Howard, A., Agllias, K., Bevis, M., & Blakemore, T. (2018). How social isolation affects disaster preparedness and response in Australia: Implications for social work. Australian Social Work, 71(4), 392-404. https://doi.org/10.1080/0312407X.2018.1487461

Jeong, S., Ohr, S., Pich, J., Saul, P., & Ho, A. (2015). ‘Planning ahead’among community?dwelling older people from culturally and linguistically diverse background: a cross?sectional survey. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 24(1-2), 244-255. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.12649

Kappelides, P., Bould, E., & Bigby, C. (2021). Barriers to physical activity and sport participation for people with intellectual disabilities from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Research and Practice in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 8(2), 157-169. https://doi.org/10.1080/23297018.2021.1939114

Korhonen, H., Tuomikoski, A. M., Oikarainen, A., Kääriäinen, M., Elo, S., Kyngäs, H. & Mikkonen, K. (2019). Culturally and linguistically diverse healthcare students’ experiences of the clinical learning environment and mentoring: A qualitative study. Nurse Education in Practice, 41, 102637. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nepr.2019.102637

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Pham, T. T. L., Berecki-Gisolf, J., Clapperton, A., O’Brien, K. S., Liu, S., & Gibson, K. (2021). Definitions of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD): A literature review of epidemiological research in Australia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(2), 737. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020737

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