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Older Victorians from multicultural backgrounds contribute immensely to society, the community and family life. They should be supported to age well in a way that facilitates their ongoing contribution and maximises their health and wellbeing. However, culturally diverse older people can face barriers preventing them from accessing services and living full and active lives.

This inquiry’s terms of reference asked the Legislative Assembly Legal and Social Issues Committee to consider the adequacy of services for culturally diverse older Victorians, unique challenges they face such as social isolation, civic participation, digital literacy, elder abuse and access to aged care, and how to advance their overall mental health and wellbeing. In this report, the Committee brings together evidence from inquiry participants to make recommendations on building holistic, culturally responsive and person-centred healthcare and social services systems.

This report has 10 chapters:

  • Chapter 1 provides an overview of key statistics, services and programs for culturally diverse older people, the distinction between local, state and federal responsibilities and the Inquiry process.
  • Chapter 2 examines the adequacy of and barriers to accessing services and proposes guiding principles for developing plans, policies and services for culturally diverse older Victorians. It also considers the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Chapter 3 considers how a bicultural and bilingual workforce could improve service delivery.
  • Chapter 4 discusses how to take a holistic approach to the overall mental and physical health and wellbeing of culturally diverse older people, including by addressing the social determinants of health and recognising intersectionality.
  • Chapter 5 examines the social isolation of culturally diverse older people and how to build strong connections to ensure their maximum enjoyment of life as they age.
  • Chapter 6 considers civic, social and economic participation as a particularly pertinent challenge for multicultural communities and older people and how to facilitate their representation and input.
  • Chapter 7 discusses enhancing the digital inclusion of older people through improvements to digital literacy and the accessibility and affordability of devices and internet connections.
  • Chapter 8 examines the extensive evidence received on elder abuse as a unique challenge for culturally diverse Victorians and how to enhance both prevention of and responses to abuse.
  • Chapter 9 reviews the Victorian Government’s role in the aged and home care sector and how it can make services more culturally inclusive.
  • Chapter 10 discusses the health and wellbeing of older people in the state and international human rights contexts and concludes with a summary of best practice guidance for the design and implementation of services. It also considers some case studies that adopt many of the best practice principles discussed throughout the report.
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