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From the President

Caring for the elderly citizens in multicultural South Australia

 In March this year the Federal Government released the “Australian Multicultural Statement” and in recent days the debate about “Australian values” has resurged in the media. It is encouraging to hear that “valuing diversity” - especially cultural and linguistic diversity, are still part of our national discussion. From the standpoint of the Chinese Welfare Services (CWS), the discussion and debate should also include valuing our commonalities as well as our differences.

 One ‘commonality” we all share is that as people, irrespective of which cultural, linguistic or religious background, we will all eventually get old. Ageism is something that is sometimes forgotten in the “diversity debate” but is has become a critical social factor as science and medicine create opportunities to lengthen our lives.

 As well as acting as President for the CWS I am also a registered nurse and have had many years of experience in caring for babies and older persons. At the same time I see my own parent age, and I increasingly feel a sense of responsibility to care for those ageing within our organisation. My father and mother have worked tirelessly to give me and my brother and sisters the life we have today, a life full of opportunities, comfort and privilege. As they age, it is imperative that as their children we return the favour of caring and loving for them. I’m sure this will resonate with many of you as you see your own loved ones age in front of you.

 December 1991, the United Nations adopted a set of United Nations Principles for Older Persons, recommending that all member governments incorporate them into their programs for older people. Here at the CWS one of the main focuses is to support the integration and wellbeing of elderly citizens in the wider Australian community. On our website you will find a range of programs that include activities that support their emotional as well as physical well-being of our elderly citizens of Chinese speaking background.

 So if you have some free time, then you may want to volunteer at our organisation or re-connect with your grandparents. Give them some room in your day. Talk to your uncles and aunts, see how they are doing. If you have elders at home, listen to them. Talk to them and record their oral histories. Spend some quality time with them. They would be more than happy. Help an elderly man or woman on the street. Say “hi” or “ni hao” to them or simply smile at them with respect. You’d be glad you did, I promise.

 Please visit our website regularly for updates on social and cultural activities for elderly citizens. All are welcome!

 Vivien Shae


Chinese Welfare Services Inc





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