Uniting many voices

A group of older Korean men and women gathered around a table practising their English

Uniting many voices

For Uniting, inclusiveness is close to our heart – and we’re doing our bit to ensure overseas-born seniors who now call Sydney home are not being isolated. We’ve identified several culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) services to stamp out the fear that people have to lose their culture and community and live with unfamiliar food, language and culture when they move into aged care.

Uniting runs a Chinese-specific aged care facility in Ashfield –the beautiful Uniting Quong Tart at Gallop House. It accommodates 63 residents with activities such as mah-jong, dominoes and tai-chi. It also has multi-lingual staff members.

And as the single largest not-for-profit provider of aged care in New South Wales and the ACT, Uniting has now set up culture-specific support groups for over 65s with Chinese, Korean, Maltese, Spainish, Turkish, Tamil, Vietnamese and Italian backgrounds.

“We want to embrace these people’s cultures, not ask them to leave them behind,” explains Jeanette Oujani, a Uniting Healthy Living for Seniors Coordinator speaking at a weekly Korean Support Group in Burwood.

“At their age they are unlikely to attempt to learn a new language or embrace a new way of life and why should they? We want them to gain confidence and trust and feel able to come out in society without fear they will get in a muddle with language or cultural problems. We enjoy taking them out for day trips, going to Korean restaurants and doing gentle exercise.”

Jeanette’s points are echoed by those who attend the group, which started in May.

“I have a lot of stress with language problems,” says Hena Lee, 80, of Riverwood, who spoke through a translator.

“But it is worth the stress of a bus and a train trip to come to this group because I am making friends with the other people who come here. Otherwise I would stay home and be stressed by myself. Once I am out I get to meet people and be part of a community.”

“You ask me if I have made friends since I come here?” quips Martin Kong, 75, of Strathfield. “I have made the best of friends.”

Get in touch

To find out more about our aged care services, whether you need residential aged care or just help to live at home, contact us on 1800 864 846, or email us.

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