The 11th to 17th of October sees the celebration of Seniors Week. The week aims to raise awareness of the issues that may affect older people, as well as the contributions they make. Here in Tasmania, Migrant Resource Centre Tasmania (MRC Tas) is proud to celebrate our older people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds who are valuable members of our community. The month of October presents a unique opportunity to recognise, support and honour these individuals.
‘Friendship’ is the theme of this year’s Seniors Week, the 23rd annual event to run in Tasmania. The week’s tagline of ‘Discover. Imagine. Together’ conveys a significant message to all Australians about the importance of community and togetherness. Today, MRC Tas pays tribute to the EnCOMPASS: Multicultural Aged Care Connector program. As its name may suggest, the EnCOMPASS program encompasses the true meaning of Seniors Week. It is an inclusive service working to enhance the support offered to CALD community members and enhance community responses to CALD older people and their loved ones.
EnCOMPASS aims to assist elderly members of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD), as well as their families and carers, to navigate the aged care system. The program has three main objectives:
- To provide CALD community members with culturally appropriate and tailored information about aged care access.
- To build capacity of CALD community members on ageing and engaging with the aged care system.
- To contribute to an evidence base on the issues and barriers affecting older people from CALD backgrounds in navigating ageing and the aged care system.
For Claudia Madali, EnCOMPASS Care Connector at MRC Tas, supporting older individuals from CALD backgrounds and meeting these objectives is part of the work she does daily. Ensuring that her clients forge connections, feel confident and can participate in society means understanding their diverse cultural backgrounds, and tailoring communication to make it accessible for all. Equally important, as Claudia explains, is “making [clients] feel comfortable and safe by listening and acknowledging their stories and experiences from earlier in their life.”
Claudia sees the benefits of this support for both older individuals and their loved ones. “The EnCOMPASS program supports both the elderly and their families, not just the client, so the impact is felt amongst the whole family.”
In her work, friendship and relationship building are also important considerations when it comes to ensuring older people from CALD backgrounds feel included in the wider community. “Being a friendly face and connecting them to one another so they can have friends and don’t feel lonely makes a huge difference.”
The response from clients is an indication of the success of this, as well as the value and importance of the EnCOMPASS program as a whole:
“I was lonely before accessing MyAgedCare and now I have my friends to catch up with.” – Client in Risdon Vale
“Friendly and I want to introduce other friends to MRC Tas” – Client in Lenah Valley
“The two ladies who came were terrific. They were extremely helpful and courteous. I do commend their professional manner and approach to their work and I thank MRC Tasmania for sending them to me.” – Client in Risdon Vale
If you’re an older person from a CALD background, EnCOMPASS are happy to support you to access information about aged care supports, including social activities, help with shopping, cleaning, transport, meal delivery and nursing care. This information can be given in your preferred language. In addition, EnCOMPASS can help you in finding suitable support and accessing My Aged Care. My Aged Care is a free service provided by the Australian Government to help older people access the care they need.
To find further information or access to support, please visit www.mrctas.org.au/aged-care/ or call 03 6221 0999.
EnCOMPASS website: https://fecca.org.au/encompass/
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Meet Claudia, our EnCOMPASS Care Connector at MRC Tas!