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New program aims to better connect CALD seniors to services and supports

A new program aiming to help tackle social isolation and loneliness among seniors from Victoria’s Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities has been launched by Australian Unity and welcomed widely by Australia’s multicultural community.

CALD seniors in Victoria are set to benefit from a new program (Source: Shutterstock)
CALD seniors in Victoria are set to benefit from a new program (Source: Shutterstock)

The program - Community Participation for Seniors from Emerging Communities - helps to support seniors from CALD communities by improving access to transport, services and support.

Australian Unity Chief Executive Officer for Independent and Assisted Living, Kevin McCoy, launched the first-of-its-kind program, noting that “for many of these people”, English is their second language and they often feel isolated from their community because they lack the confidence and knowledge of the services available to them.

Mr McCoy adds that he is “extremely proud” to be supporting communities right across Victoria to keep senior residents connected with essential services and social activities.

“As an immigrant myself I am extremely grateful for the opportunities Australia has given me and I know the value that immigrant communities bring to this great country,” he says.

“Research from Australian Unity shows there is a lack of knowledge and understanding of Government services among older people, particularly in many recently arrived migrant communities.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the Government on this important program.”

The 12-month program, which is expected to help more than 900 community members across six target CALD communities - including Filipino, Karen, Afghanistan, Ethiopian, Somali and Sudanese - has been supported by a grant of $100,000 from the Victorian Government to deliver supports such as:

  • The Seniors Care program, including support to register online for a Seniors Card

  • Subsidised public transport, including support to create, use and maintain a seniors myki account

  • Other Victorian Government concessions, e.g. energy and utilities concessions, and other relevant information for seniors

  • Interpreter services

  • Other services, as identified by seniors participating in the project

Upon releasing the grant funding, Victorian Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley shared his excitement at being able to support initiatives like those presented by Australian Unity.

“We’re proud to be supporting communities right across Victoria to keep senior residents connected and engaged with services, healthcare and social activities,” Minister Foley says.

“Older Victorians have contributed so much to our state. This is about giving back to them, and making sure they are supported to live happy, healthy lives and stay active in their communities as they grow older.”

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