Ageing Well in a Foreign Land: Identity, Social Connectedness, Well-being
Research shows that, over and above risks associated with ageing, older people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD) are at elevated risk of social isolation. For this group, any loss of cultural connectedness through moving country makes them vulnerable to low psychological well-being because it can undermine their ability to take an active part in the host society, thereby hindering their capacity to age well in a foreign land.
It is far from clear however how to best break any cycle of social isolation that may develop in CALD older adults and how best to socially connect. This knowledge gap is addressed in an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant awarded to A/Prof. Shuang Liu, Prof. Jolanda Jetten, Prof. Catherine Haslam, Prof. Cindy Gallois and Ms Vivienne McDonald.
In this 3-year project, we partner up with Diversicare—one of the largest service providers for CALD older adults in the South-East of Queensland—to identify how to most effectively deliver culturally appropriate aged care services that enhance social and cultural connectedness, and thereby well-being. In particular, adopting a social identity approach, the research aims to advance knowledge on how to best harness and develop identity resources as substantial and concrete assets to enhance well-being among people ageing in a foreign land.
Diversicare has developed a range of activities and services to address the problem of social isolation among its clients. In particular, to meet client expectations and evolving community needs,Diversicare has implemented a range of cultural activities that aim to better link clients to their ethnic cultures and the host culture more generally. Even though, anecdotally, it is clear that participating in these activities is beneficial for CALD older adults, just how beneficial such participation is and how it achieves this has not yet been examined. Moreover, it is not clear whether participation enhances outcomes other than well-being — such as for example community participation and engagement. Therefore, this research project, in partnership with Diversicare, aims to identify trajectories that maximise the effectiveness of Diversicare‘s various cultural activities. The findings of this project will be translated into training programs and inform policies in relation to culturally appropriate care for a diverse and ageing population.