Ageing well in a foreign land

9 Jun 2016

The vulnerability of older adults from non-English speaking backgrounds living in Australia will be central to a new joint research project.

Researchers from The University of Queensland have partnered with Diversicare, the community care division of the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland (ECCQ).

The three-year project, led by Professor Jolanda Jettenfrom the School of Psychology and Dr Shuang Liu from the School of Communications and Arts, aims to understand the best ways to help people ageing in a foreign land stay connected with their social networks.

“Older people from diverse cultural backgrounds are at increased risk of social isolation as they age in a foreign land,” Professor Jetten said.

“There is evidence that they may be more vulnerable to diminished self-esteem, depression, poor psychological wellbeing and increased mortality.

“The project will look at answering key questions about the factors that contribute to a sense of isolation and to psychological wellbeing, and will run for three years using a mixed methods approach.

“When and how does engagement in ethno-cultural and multicultural activities enhance social connectedness, community integration and wellbeing – and how successful are they?”

Diversicare General Manager Vivienne McDonald is the partner investigator on the project, which is supported by a $150,000 Australian Research Council Linkage grant.

She said the research would deepen Diversicare’s knowledge and inform strategies used to care for older people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland Chairperson Serge Voloschenko said it would play a critical role in determining how future services were provided.

“We are very excited to be involved in this project and are grateful for the opportunity to learn more about how we can better support this particular group of Australians,” Mr Voloschenko said.

“This research will shape the programs that Diversicare delivers, building our capacity to accommodate Australia’s diverse ageing population,” he said.

Professor Jetten and Dr Liu will collaborate with School of Psychology colleagues Professor Catherine Haslam and Emeritus Professor Cynthia Gallois.

Media: Professor Jolanda Jetten, , +617 3365 4909; UQ Communications, Robert Burgin,, +61 7 3346 3035, + 61 0448 410 364.