Australia

'Speak My Language': Radio program to help ageing multicultural communities

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The aged care radio broadcast program aims to help "isolated" elderly people.

A new national project which aims to harness the power of radio to help multicultural communities access information about aged care, is set to be launched.

The Speak My Language program will broadcast more than 1000 personal stories and on-air discussions to help elderly people and their families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds understand the latest changes to the Australian aged care system.

The Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM, will launch the initiative at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday.

It comes after research by the Ethnic Communities’ Council of NSW - the lead agency delivering the program - found 80 per cent of people who accessed its bilingual information booths were not aware of the provisions available for the elderly.

Ahead of the launch, Mr Wyatt said: “It will play a vital role in keeping multicultural communities up to date with the latest aged care information, in languages they understand and are comfortable with".

“We all know that talking about aged care and navigating the aged care system can be daunting for some. Innovative, community based programs like this will undoubtedly make the journey easier for many of our valued citizens."

Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM
Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM, delivers a speech at the launch of Speak My Language in Canberra.
SBS News

The first series of community conversations will be broadcast in Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Serbian, Macedonian, Hindi, Arabic and English.

Mary Karras, chief executive officer of the Ethnic Communities’ Council of NSW, said: "By telling their stories in their own language using their trusted ethnic radio program, they are able to connect with members of their own community and share strategies to overcome the ageing barrier."

She said they hoped to reach out to "the thousands of people who are listening from home and may be isolated and do not know that assistance is available".

The Federal government-funded program has partnered with SBS and NEMBC (the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters' Council).

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