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Seniors promised new radio program will ‘speak their language’

The culturally diverse backgrounds of older Australians are being acknowledged and supported through a new initiative launched, and funded, by the Federal Government.

Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt at the Speak My Language launch (Source: Twitter)
Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt at the Speak My Language launch (Source: Twitter)

They are expected to benefit from the increased access to aged care information the newly launched Speak My Language radio project will bring.

Funded through a $1 million investment by the Federal Government, the project, which also includes online and social media resources, and links aged care providers offering services for ethnic groups with radio hosts to build understanding of the sector, aims to engage many right across the nation.

Federal Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt says Speak My Language will play a “vital role” in keeping multicultural communities up to date by providing the latest aged care information in languages they understand and are comfortable with.

“We owe our older Australians an inclusive aged care system, one that embraces diversity,” he says.

“Talking about aged care and navigating the aged care system can be daunting for older Australians and their families, particularly those from diverse backgrounds.

“Innovative, community-based programs like this will undoubtedly make the journey easier for many of our most treasured citizens.”

He says the project will engage 160 bilingual aged care facilitators and ethnic radio programs across New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.

Minister Wyatt adds that while the first broadcasts will be in Chinese, Russian, spanish, Portuguese, Serbian, Macedonian, Hindi, Arabic and English, the project will eventually build to up to 25 language groups.

“More than 1,000 people’s stories will be broadcast live and podcast to promote ageing well,” he continues.

“Over 600,000 older Australian people were born in countries where English is not the first language.

“These people have contributed enormously to the economic and cultural wealth of our nation, and the Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring they have access to high quality aged care services that are sensitive, inclusive and culturally appropriate.”

Chairperson of the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) Mary Patetsos welcomed the investment from Government.

“With one in every three older Australians born overseas, people of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds face particular issues as they age.

“FECCA is delighted to see the provision of a service like Speak My Language because it connects these people directly to information about the services and help they need.

“This initiative recognises the difficulty that Australians of CALD background have in understanding and accessing the aged care system.

“FECCA has been working closely with the Government to push for broad and continued reform of the aged care sector and to ensure that the interests of older CALD Australians are being met by the aged care reform agenda.

“We welcome this investment by the Government and the recognition and respect it gives to the cultural needs of these older people.”

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