MiCare, a merged organisation between aged care provider DutchCare and the New Hope Foundation that focuses on catering to people from various non-English speaking backgrounds, was also awarded a capital grant of $1 million for the new development.
The now 108-bed facility, currently in the planning stage, will be located in Noble Park in Victoria, were there are currently around 117,000 people of Indian descent residing, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Chair of the Confederation of Indian Australian Associations and spokesperson for the Federation of Indian Associations Victoria Vasan Srinivasan says a number of aged care providers and Indian seniors were consulted to determine the specific needs of older Indian people entering residential aged care.
“With people who have migrated to Australia from other countries and have learned English as their second language, the majority of them will go back to their ‘mother tongue’ and forget that learned language,” Mr Srinivasan says.
“Another thing is that for people who have come from India, there is a tendency for them when they reach their 60’s and 70’s to revert to vegetarianism, mainly because of the health aspects.
“We have requested four different prayer and spiritual rooms for groups to conduct their festivities – because you know as Indians, we celebrate 365 days a year – as well as a vegetarian kitchen.”
Acting Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of Business Development at MiCare Penni Michael says the development will cater to the growing number of migrants with additional needs to English speaking people.
“For us, it’s about our commitment to migrants and refugees, and providing services which are culturally responsive,” Ms Michael says.
“In this facility, issues around design have included making sure the prayer rooms are facing in the right direction and ensuring that we have sufficient space enabling all residents and their families to get together on special occasions.
“The site is actually adjacent to a park so one of the things the local council has asked us to do is to have an interface and interaction with the park, so we have designed the building to enable that to happen.”
Ms Michael says MiCare will be recruiting for the facility based on language.
“If you look at consumer directed care and choice, then language is critical – it can’t be exercised if people don’t understand what is said or asked of them. “If all is equal, then the people who speak an Indian dialect will be preferred. There are some positions where expertise is critically important and that needs to be met, but there will certainly be plenty of people who speak Indian to assist.”