Australia has a long and rich history of immigration, and as a result, the Australian population includes a large number of people who were born overseas, have a parent born overseas and/or who speak a variety of languages. These groups of people are generally referred to as culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) populations. However, it is not always easy to identify CALD people or populations in data because the relevant information is not always systematically recorded. As a result of these limitations, this section mainly uses both country of birth and main language spoken at home to identify CALD populations.
Understanding dementia with respect to people of CALD backgrounds is essential for health and aged care policy and planning, as research suggests that the CALD community, or specific cultural subgroups may experience different patterns of disease, health risk factors and access to and utilisation of services (AIHW 2018). Widespread use of appropriate dementia diagnostic tools (such as the Rowland Universal Dementia Assessment Scale (RUDAS)) are needed to ensure diagnosis is not further delayed due to communication and cultural differences. Further, as people with dementia who can speak multiple languages will often revert to their first language or mix languages as their dementia progresses, this can lead to communication barriers that can cause feelings of isolation, loneliness, and anxiety and depression in those with dementia and result in their needs not being met.
Until more information is available, this page aims to explore dementia in CALD communities in Australia, using the currently available national data, by:
- examining patterns of cultural and linguistic diversity in people living with dementia
- assessing the use of permanent residential aged care services by people with dementia from CALD backgrounds and how this compares with people from English speaking backgrounds (skip to this section)
- examining the source of assistance for people with dementia from CALD backgrounds and how this compares with people from English speaking backgrounds (skip to this section)
- exploring CALD among primary carers of people with dementia (skip to this section).
See Cultural linguistic diversity among Australians who died with dementia for patterns of CALD among people who died with dementia, using linked census and mortality data.
Expand the sections below for more information on what data are available to report on dementia in Australia’s CALD communities, limitations of these data and what is being done to improve them.