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Coping with Life's Struggles: Caring for Aged Family

Index to articles:

Caring for the Aged

Caring for the Aged; The Impact on the Individual and the Family

For generations, Greek Australian families have spent a great part of their lives raising awareness of their Greek heritage and culture to their children. Families within the Greek society are close, with people caring for their parents as well as their children and grandchildren in a supportive home environment. Greek families believe that it is a matter of cultural pride and their duty to care for their ageing, frail or ill family member. Their attitudes toward ageing are shaped by social and cultural norms. For some Greeks, the available services are perceived as not being culturally appropriate and/or not meeting the expectations of the family, and their reluctance to request for help in fear of humiliation has often led to the carer to care for their loved one to the point of exhaustion. However, neglecting to do this initiates a sense of guilt and shame upon the family and/or mistrust and fear associated with early institutionalised care.

The changing face and needs of the Greek Australian ageing community

There are enormous life changes for the individual and their family members. When the realisation of change takes place it is essential that the family have access to service providers who offer a range of programs and activities that will foster emotional, communication, social and spiritual support, in addition to health and personal care assistance.

While the earlier generations experienced the hardships of migration, separation from their homeland and families, and resettlement in a new country, they have not experienced the stress brought on by care giving responsibilities that their spouse or adult offspring have been subjected to.

To meet the health and community needs of the Greek Australian ageing population and the care giver/s, we need to explore and provide services that are flexible, respond to diversity and understand the changes in care relationships. Our aim is to help navigate the care recipient and care giver to health and community services so that they are better equipped to make their choices and to have their needs met. A few of the challenges families need to cope with are: deterioration of health, isolation and depression, communication and language barriers, cultural perceptions around personal care and long waiting lists.

Summary of services supporting care relationships

The services aim to provide basic support to the frail and older population and to carers. Some of these services include, counselling and information, service care co-ordination, community care, residential care, respite care, health services and interpreting services.

Organisations

Greek Welfare Centre
St Basil’s Homes

A full range of support services to suit particular needs can be accessed by contacting, Commonweath Carelink Services and the Aged Care Information Line.

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