Family dynamics and support for elders

Across all families of diverse Arabic speaking backgrounds, there is the cultural expectation that younger family members will provide all care needs to their elders. Seeking help outside the family for the care needs of an elderly person may be seen as a failure in family members’ responsibility and obligation to support and care for their elders.

Changing values, beliefs and capacity about the role of the family to assist each other, and the associated stigma about seeking external support and residential aged care, increase the burden and stress on families. In many cases, families struggle to meet their own economic needs and this reality, coupled with their reluctance to use home-based and residential care, requires that service providers engage families with sensitivity. 

Importantly, while family may play a key role in providing care, they need to be better supported in this role; they require your support to address practical care needs and to cope with any perceived sense of failure.

For some elders, there may be other risks, especially for those who do not have family supports in Australia and for those who belong to a small community. Risks of social isolation and related problems of depression and anxiety challenge service providers in their efforts to link these elders with people of similar age and background.