It’s official, a University of Queensland study has revealed that the Diversicare respite centre, West End CONNECT is providing essential social and cultural connectedness and general wellbeing to its culturally and linguistically diverse clients.
Key findings from the study show that the participation of Diversicare clients in cultural and wider social groups provided the means for older immigrants to feel supported and more integrated into the Australia community.
The study led by Shuang Liu and her team from the University of Queensland and supported by the Australian Research Council Linkage Scheme, interviewed Diversicare respite attendees to get their feedback on the benefits of the respite centre.
The study showed that participation in social activities such as going on day trips, regular gatherings with friends at respite activities, and engagement exercise as a group, were perceived by Diversicare clients as beneficial to physical and psychological well-being.
Taking part in respite activities facilitated the building of social networks for older CALD people, connecting them to their home culture and the larger Australian community.
For example, participants from different heritage cultural backgrounds expressed that being able to interact with people from their own generation provided a unique type of social connectedness that their younger family members could not offer.
“I feel balanced after. So when I go to the other places during the week, I feel balanced because of the contact with people. It’s a medical necessity…in my mind. You know you need contact with people because no one is an island. (#36 male, German).
Other respite visitors commented that respite days offered much needed variety and a welcome break from the routine. This comment from a German female attendee: “I think it has improved my overall well-being because it gives me variety. And I think that’s what people need when they get older. They need variety, they need companionship.”