The findings of a qualitative study resourced by a grant from the UNSW Ageing Futures Institute on the perspectives and priorities for ageing well for older Aboriginal people in Walgett were recently published an article in Ageing & Society, authored by DEG’s Virginia Robinson and Wendy Spencer, UNSW’s Ruth McCausland and Peta MacGillivray along with Dr Sacha Kendall Jamieson and Dr Melanie Andersen.
Elders talked about the importance of fulfilling their roles as the ‘wellspring’ for younger people, as well as the ongoing impacts of colonisation on ageing well. As one Elder said:
Well when I think about ageing and culture I think one of the big things that is on people's minds, especially elderly Aboriginal people, is the fact that the rivers have dried up, and how that affects culture to me, it's like another wave of destruction of our culture.
The study also highlighted the importance role of the DEG in supporting Elders' holistic concept of wellbeing:
People tell jokes, you come in here and have a yarn about different things. Makes you feel good when you come in here and talk to people.
There's nowhere else you can get a dose of culture every day.
Elders also talked about wanting a culturally safe model of aged care rather than parity with non-Indigenous older people:
I think there's always been a difference in the aged care needs of Aboriginal people. We're in a system, an English system, and I think our care needs are different. Not that we need to be in a building with four walls and just sit there. They don't understand the Aboriginal way because they never learn it, we learnt their way.
Read the article here.
This research also informed Samantha Rich’s Masters project on Elders housing.