Diverse population groups: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
March 06, 2020
All Australians have the right to access health care that meets their cultural and linguistic needs, but for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people there are challenges for the aged care system to include culturally appropriate care, especially for those living in remote areas.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culture are diverse and dynamic, representing many nations and language groups. Indigenous Australians have different backgrounds, traditions, and life experiences, living in both urban and non-urban regions. In the 2011 Australian Census, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up approximately 3% of the Australian population, with 12% of the population aged 50 and over in 2006. 90% identified as Aboriginal, 6% identified as Torres Strait Islander and 4% identified as both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have lower life expectancies and poorer health outcomes than non-Indigenous Australians, particularly from chronic disease. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 and over are considered ‘aged’ or ‘older’. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are often disadvantaged by historical, economic, cultural, social and educational factors, and are more than twice as likely as non-Indigenous Australians to need help with core daily activities due to disability, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Inter-generational trauma caused by removing children from families, exists in many families and communities. Inequalities exist for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accessing health services in both urban and remote areas. These barriers to service and health care access require solutions and policies to address this inequity.
End of Life Directions Aged Care have the following strategies and considerations to foster culturally safe and responsive aged care environments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients and residents.