Citizens of the older generation are carriers of knowledge and experience. They make a significant contribution to the overall intellectual and economic potential of a particular state. In the modern world, the policies of many countries aim at maintaining the necessary standard of living for the elderly and caring for their well-being. Australia is one of those states where caring for the older generation is a priority of national policy.
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However, it is not just the elderly who deserve particular attention but those who are representatives of different cultural or linguistic minorities. As a rule, it is quite difficult for such people to adapt to society. Thus, the national strategy was developed to take care of people of different backgrounds, including cultural and linguistic ones. The goal of this policy is to make sure that the elderly population successfully adapts to society, as well as work to improve their standard of living. The strategy considers aged people from different social and cultural spheres as the primary object of care. The policy has proved its effectiveness; it is an example of a successful national program to protect the most vulnerable strata of the population.
Key Issues of the Strategy
According to the national strategy, it is designed to support the elderly from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds (Commonwealth of Australia (Department of Social Services), 2015). The problem of adaptation of the older generation in modern society is a rather significant issue because many old people can not afford some of the opportunities that are available to the youth. Moreover, if these people are not indigenous residents of the country and have difficulties in communicating with local people, it becomes a severe problem (Hollie, 2017). For some visitors, Australia has long become a native country. Nevertheless, the state still has quite a large percentage of people who are experiencing significant discomfort.
As a rule, it is caused not only by a low level of well-being but also communicative difficulties. Banks (2015) claims that older people who do not know the national language are less likely to live a full life and interact with their peers. Besides, cultural values also play an essential role. Some of these people were raised in a different social environment. For many of them, it is quite hard to get used to the customs and the foundations of a new country, even if they have been living in it for a long time. It is especially true of refugees who were forced to escape from their countries for some reason. As Chan (2014) remarks, it was for such people that the Australian national strategy was developed. It is designed to help the elderly population and allow these people to live a full life without experiencing a sense of vulnerability.
In addition to social adaptation, the national strategy also addresses the issues of medical care for the elderly population. Priority areas are palliative care, dementia, and chronic mental or health diseases. Piller (2016) remarks that it is difficult for people with a language barrier or a lack of communication skills to deal with such problems on their own. That is why the program provides comprehensive care for these citizens and gives them protection and support at the state level. The work of the policy is developed in such a way that all those in need can receive qualified assistance and have access to modern methods of treatment. Thus, communicative adaptation and medical care are the critical issues of the strategy.
Evidence for the Existence of the Problems
According to the Australian national strategy, today’s residents speak more than two hundred and sixty languages, and the current percentage of them, undoubtedly, is not indigenous Australians (Commonwealth of Australia (Department of Social Services), 2015). Besides, the policy also emphasizes that there are more than three hundred ancestries (Commonwealth of Australia (Department of Social Services), 2015) on this continent. It means that the issues associated with communication and social adaptation of people are quite evident.
In addition to social issues, there are also economic ones. The number of elderly residents who work in various fields is significant. Working productivity in a particular enterprise often depends on how well the interaction between employees is established. Language barriers or insufficiently developed levels of communicative competence may cause low working performance (Betancourt, Green, Carrillo, & Ananeh-Firempong, 2016). Consequently, helping older people with diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds can positively influence not only their adaptation in society but also the increase of job capacity.
Large Percentage of the Population
Many people who are not indigenous to Australia are rather old. Thus, according to the national strategy, more than 60 percent of newcomers are over 65 years of age (Commonwealth of Australia (Department of Social Services), 2015, p. 6). It means that such a large number of people of respectable age need the care of the state. The strategy is designed in such a way that all those in need have an opportunity to receive full-fledged assistance and to be aware that they have the right to count on such support (Zannettino, Bagshaw, Wendt, & Adams, 2015). That is why the work of the national policy is considered significant and foreground.
Target Group and It’s Needs
The primary target audience, which is under the control of the national strategy, is not just the elderly from 65 years of age or older but also those that originate from different cultural or linguistic backgrounds. According to Nichols, Horner, and Fyfe (2015), such people, as a rule, experience difficulties in communication and cannot take care of themselves. Also, many of them need medical care and are forced to spend time in clinics.
At the same time, older people cannot always pay for expensive treatment because many of them no longer work for health reasons. The tasks of the national policy include educating the population about possible ways of improving the life situation and helping them adapt to the conditions of an unfamiliar cultural environment. Therefore, the activity of the strategy concerns not only social issues but also the problems of palliative care for a vulnerable population.
Concept of Rights
Older people from CALD backgrounds are free from elder abuse (Commonwealth of Australia (Department of Social Services), 2015) and can be provided with all necessary assistance by the existing law about the protection of the population. The national policy applies the concept of rights in identifying and meeting the needs of older adults who need care; thus, these people can get appropriate help. In the strategy, the norms are written both as the civil and human rights of the person and provide for the full protection of the vulnerable population that has the same opportunities as the younger residents of the country.
Human rights are considered fundamental and are respected by established policy standards. The strategy does not imply a division by race, gender, or another type; all people, regardless of their religious or cultural background, have the right to social protection and assistance. The concept of equity is applied in linking the needs and rights of the elderly; it is one of the essential conditions of the policy’s work, and it is this principle that determines all the activities of the strategy. Anyone can apply to people who are members of the program and with their help contact all the necessary government agencies or structures (O’Driscoll, Banting, Borkoles, Eime, & Polman, 2014). It means that the elderly can feel the state’s protection and count on support.
Interests of Stakeholders
Older people from CALD backgrounds, their families, and carers are the stakeholders of the strategy’s work. The central target is older adults who are experiencing difficulties with social adaptation and need medical care. These people are identified as being the key stakeholders in the implementation of the national strategy. There is no clear evidence of what resource allocation strategies will be applied or will be needed; nevertheless, carers and other people involved in the policy implementation, try to pay attention to all those in need. The mechanisms of work that the policy outlines relate to the search for citizens of an appropriate target group, as well as meeting their basic needs and redressing urgent problems.
The evaluation of work is carried out by discussing the results achieved, summarizing, and analyzing statistical data. The value of the program is that entirely all the elderly from diverse cultural or linguistic backgrounds can rely on guaranteed assistance. Those who provide necessary care discuss not only the aesthetic but also the financial interests of the stakeholders and ensure that the entire target audience feels real help from the policy’s activities (Lupyan & Dale, 2016).
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There is no indication that the interests of individual parties are disputed and not taken into account. According to Scheim et al. (2013), the activity of any public organization is useful if all its participants feel real changes that are due to its work. That is why the national strategy can be regarded as entirely satisfactory because the elderly are known to approve the activities of this policy and confirm that they feel help and support from carers.
Strategies and Mechanisms of the Policy
The national plan carries out some measures to solve or eliminate the stated problems, as well as to meet the needs of the target audience. Some activities include the translations of necessary information if older people experience difficulties and a language barrier. Also, various information sessions are held aimed at increasing the level of communicative competence of the elderly and assisting in socialization.
The activities of the policy are designed in such a way that it implies focused work with groups or individually. The strategy is financed from the budget. It means that the state is aware of the work of the national strategy’s representatives and supports their activities. As O’Mara (2014) notes, in case the work of a public organization is held under the patronage of the authorities, it is guaranteed to be protected and can count on long-term work. Also, this policy has quite evident success; therefore, all funds are distributed competently and are targeted exclusively for the needs of older citizens from diverse cultural or linguistic backgrounds.
The experts of the organization work not only on social assistance but also provide comprehensive medical care for those who need it. The cooperation of service providers with medical institutions allows providing places for those who need urgent medical assistance. In this case, carers take into account the cultural, linguistic, and spiritual characteristics of different people. According to Trueba, H. T., Jacobs, L., & Kirton (2014), the close cooperation of public organizations with various social structures makes it possible to provide those in need with comprehensive care and not only with specific services.
Effectiveness of the Strategy
Service providers have all the necessary resources to provide professional assistance at a high level. Dakin (2017) notes that modern equipment of medical centers, the professionalism of employees, and many places for meetings are an evident proof of a sufficient material base. The national strategy is quite stable since, during its existence, the number of elderly who receive assistance is continually growing. The target audience of the policy is provided with all the necessary information about where they can use the services of specialists who are the carers of the program. Data collection and investigation of the current situation are an integral part of the strategy. Materials about the number of people aged, as well as information about all possible ways of care are always updated.
The work of the community aims at both groups of citizens and individuals. As an additional informational base, not only the personal data of older people are used but also materials about their previous place of residence, as well as all that may be needed in the process of work. The planning of the policy’s activities is structured in such a way that those who most need help it receive initially. This category includes elderly people with obvious health problems, as well as those who have difficulties in communicating with others.
The availability of the strategy is one of the evidence that program specialists are not just attracting attention to their activities but are working and have success (Lood, Häggblom-Kronlöf, & Dahlin-Ivanoff, 2015). CALD clients feel that they are safe while being under the patronage of the program. There is no indication that efforts to solve problems cause significant difficulties. Besides, the consequences of the policy can hardly be dangerous because the community does not deal with economic or severe financial issues. The activities of the strategy are necessary and justified in the context of intercultural differentiation in Australia.
Thus, the national strategy has proved to be a successful and productive policy to protect the most vulnerable strata of the Australian population. The central audience to which the community is directed is the elderly from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The primary goals pursued by the strategy are to help older people in adaptation in the society, medical care, as well as organizing activities for the socialization of people in need. Specialists take into account the interests of people in need and observe all the rights, which is proof of a charitable mission. The policy uses contemporary mechanisms of work and has proved its effectiveness and the right to be considered a national program with a successful strategy during its existence.
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