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Introduction: An Exploration of a Social Issue in Ageing

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The issue of ageing is one of the prevalent issues in every society and often requires the implementation of tasks and strategies to improve the social prospects of this issue. The condition of older people needs to be considered, and initiatives are needed to be taken to help them live with liberty and dignity. In this study, the social issues faced by the indigenous older age people living in Australia have been considered. The older people of the indigenous community have faced issues such as racial discrimination, poverty, and inability to receive social services, disability and other health-related conditions. The community has been subjected to inhumane treatment since colonial times, which has left a deep scar on them. This study is conducted on the government's policies for the older indigenous people, a suggestion of a new policy for the interest and its impact on the macro and micro-level.

A critical review of previous literature

The older people of a community are subjected to social issues which impact their way of living and often cause disruption in their life cycle. The indigenous people have been subjected to inhumane treatment during colonial times and, in the present day, are faced with social issues that have been detrimental to their lifestyle and cycle. The older indigenous people have issues often related to racial discrimination and 'taken-for-granted' treatment, which has affected them psychologically, financially and emotionally (Fernando & Bennett, 2019). The health issues faced by the indigenous people include cardiac complications, disability, psychological stress and other related health complications. Opportunities were not provided to the indigenous people in their youth years, so they often faced unemployment issues. These conditions in their youth have left the older indigenous people in prevalent and grave poverty (Menzies, 2019). The government of Australia has considered these issues, and initiatives are undertaken to secure the safety and well-being of these older people.

The projected number of older indigenous people will increase from 2001 to 2031 (refer to appendix 1). The number of older indigenous people has increased, and care is required for their betterment. The policies are undertaken to care for the older indigenous people of Australia and to increase their life expectancy. The Australian government has enacted the legislation of the Age Discrimination Act to ensure the betterment of the older indigenous people of Australia. This act has helped increase these people's life expectancy and improve their health prospectus. However, older people, especially indigenous people aged 55 to 64, have been unemployed and find it difficult to find jobs (Humanrights.gov.au, 2022a). Initiatives and policies must be undertaken to ensure job and financial security, which helps them live with liberty and dignity. The government must ensure that older indigenous people are not subjected to racial discrimination.

The earlier studied reviews of the literature have revealed that the indigenous people of Australia have been suffering various social issues from the past till today. The articles studied have shown that the Australian indigenous population is more socially discriminated against. The population has been found to be the victim of racial discrimination and a lack of opportunities (Shirodkar, 2019). The ageing population is known to suffer the most in the war of racial discrimination in Australia. Health issues have been noticed to have an adverse effect on the people of the indigenous groups due to a lack of opportunities and facilities. The social well-being of the ageing population has been found to be more vulnerable to social issues (Shirodkar, 2019).

The indigenous population of Australia is also suffering from economical problems which have directly affected their health problems. As stated by Shirodkar, 2019 though the government of Australia has taken measures in protecting the backward and tribal groups through the implementation of certain governmental policies, they are still found to meet challenges (Refer to Appendix 2). The everyday living of the indigenous group's people being unhealthy has resulted in the occurrence of various health problems. The elderly population of the tribal groups has been found to be suffering from mental and other health issues due to poor economic status (Paradies, 2018). The government policies too have not been able to successfully eradicate the discriminating issue of racism and its adversity on health. Therefore, further strict policies are to be made for the betterment of the indigenous people of Australia.

Development of Social Policies Regarding Issues Observed In the Aging Body and Experience of Aging

General social policies have been undertaken and implemented for the betterment of the conditions of older indigenous people. The older people of a community are subjected to social issues which impact their way of living and often cause disruption in their life cycle. The indigenous people have been subjected to inhumane treatment during colonial times and, in the present day, are faced with social issues that have been detrimental to their lifestyle and cycle. The condition of older people needs to be considered, and initiatives are needed to be taken to help them live with liberty and dignity. The first policy which can be proposed for improving the conditions related to social and health is providing free treatment to the older age indigenous people. According to Bond et al. (2019), more than 64% of the older indigenous people have been facing the issue of disability and other health complication which has been detrimental to them. Older indigenous people face health complications due to poor living conditions and unhealthy lifestyles, which have negatively impacted them, and disability is one such issue related to their health. The government needs to implement the prospects of free treatment in the government and private hospitals, which help support the older indigenous people.

The indigenous people of Australia have been subjected to racial discrimination since colonial times, which has caused detrimental psychological effects upon them. These effects become more prominent when these people are aged as they often remember those events impacting their psychiatric properties (Radford et al., 2019). The second proposal that can be implemented is the construction of community well-being centres where interactions with the older indigenous will be done. These centres need to employ specialist counsellors with the prevalence of employing counsellors from the indigenous community. This initiative will ensure employment opportunities for the younger generation of the indigenous community and also ensure the well-being of the older indigenous people.

The other major proposal for improving the conditions of the older indigenous people is providing them with a certain monetary amount every month, often termed an old-age pension. The older indigenous people are being subjected to poverty and require monetary support for their financial security (McNamara et al., 2018). The older indigenous often cannot afford healthcare due to poverty issues. The proposal for free treatment in the hospitals and care centres, along with monetary support, will be helpful for the indigenous older people. The final proposal which can be suggested for the well-being of the older indigenous people is the reservation of hospital beds and appointment of indigenous nurses and caregivers for the older indigenous people. The reservation of hospital beds will ensure that the older indigenous people get the necessary treatment for their well-being and increased life expectancy. The appointment of indigenous nurses and caregivers will ensure that older people can connect with them and share common cultural views and values. The indigenous nurses will be able to communicate with older indigenous patients due to similarities in language and culture, ensuring the well-being of the older indigenous people.

Implementation Strategy on Micro and Macro Levels

The indigenous people of Australia have been subjected to social issues which have impacted them psychologically and financially. General social policies have been undertaken and implemented for the betterment of the conditions of older indigenous people. The older people of a community are subjected to social issues which impact their way of living and often cause disruption in their life cycle. The indigenous people have been subjected to inhumane treatment during colonial times and, in the present day, are faced with social issues that have been detrimental to their lifestyle and cycle. The condition of older people needs to be considered, and initiatives are needed to be taken to help them live with liberty and dignity. The proposals given for the betterment of the older indigenous people will help in the betterment of them based on their health and financial prospects. The proposal of free treatment can be implemented in the hospital at the macro and micro level in Australia, ensuring the indigenous people's health prospects. The prospects of free treatment are often helpful for increasing the health status of the indigenous people along with the increase in their life expectancy (Tynan et al., 2020). The free treatment needs to be implemented by the legislative council and requires expenditure in the health sector. The increase in the expenditure of the health sector will also lead to an increase in job opportunities for nurses and caregivers (Hefler et al., 2019). The appointment of nurses and caregivers from indigenous backgrounds will help increase job opportunities for the indigenous community. The increase in job opportunities leads to increased financial security; hence, they will be unaffected in their old age.

Implementing the proposal for monetary support for the indigenous people of Australia at the macro and micro-level will ensure the financial security of these people. Older people have faced financial issues, leading to major health complications like disability (Temple & Russell, 2018). The monetary support to these people will help empower older people and ensure their financial security. The implementation of this proposal, both at the macro and micro level, can be done through the initiatives and legislations undertaken by the government. The construction of the community well-being centres will be helpful for the cultural development of the indigenous aboriginal people and ensures the improvement of the lifestyle factors of the older age indigenous people (Thurber et al., 2021). The older indigenous people will be able to communicate with others to improve their social and cultural settings. These centres need to employ specialist counsellors with the prevalence of employing counsellors from the indigenous community. This initiative will ensure employment opportunities for the younger generation of the indigenous community and also ensure the well-being of the older indigenous people.

The reservation of hospital beds needs to be implemented for the free treatment of older indigenous people. The reservation will be helpful for the free treatment prospects of the older indigenous people (Bradley et al., 2020). The reservation can be implemented by the changes in the pre-existent health legislature, which ensures the safety and well-being of the older indigenous people. The reservation of the hospital beds will ensure that the older indigenous people can get the necessary treatment for their well-being and their increased life expectancy (Thompson et al., 2022). The appointment of indigenous nurses and caregivers will ensure that older people can connect with them and share common cultural views and values. The indigenous nurses will be able to communicate with older indigenous patients due to similarities in language and culture, ensuring the well-being of the older indigenous people.

Impact of the Policy of Aged Care Practice in Australia

The policies so formed are completely based on the eradication of the racial discrimination prevalent among the indigenous population. Racial discrimination among indigenous people is increasing day by day in Australia. These backward groups of people are found to lack opportunities and facilities in various sectors of the country (Globalcitizen.org, 2021). The major discrimination faced by these people is their social and economical status. The indigenous people being socially backward meet the challenge of being discriminated against in the world of education, work and health. Also, a few governmental, as well as private organisations, have failed to provide opportunities in terms of employment. The indigenous people, therefore, experience racial discrimination in the working and educational sectors of the country. This has led to adverse effects on the health of the population, especially the elderly population (Globalcitizen.org, 2021). The ageing people are found to be suffering more adversity than the people of indigenous groups. The ageing groups are found to be facing the problems of mental and other health issues due to a lack of economic stability. Racial discrimination has been affecting the psychology of the elderly groups adversely.

The policies that have been formed are aimed at fighting the issues of discrimination and its impact on the health of backward groups of people in Australia. The policies have focused on the elimination of racism among the Australian population with emphasis on the indigenous people. It is important that the discriminative factor is reduced among the indigenous and that more facilities are available to them (Abs.gov.au, 2019). The policy has aimed at providing reservations to the indigenous groups to protect and preserve their opportunities in society. The reservation has been made to protect the rights of the indigenous groups both in the employment and health sectors. In aged groups of indigenous people, the policy has aimed to provide better healthcare. The health care of the elderly has become an important priority for the protection of Australian indigenous groups (Abs.gov.au, 2019). The pensioning system of the elderly groups can help them to live better standards of living and avail healthy diet. Poor living standards and seclusion from society has been strictly prohibited which has a positive impact on the life of indigenous people.

The care of the aged through the formed policy has been adopted by reducing the racism factor in healthcare institutions. The aged are also taken care of by preserving the rights of elderly people on both the domestic and national levels. The aged are provided pensions and health remunerations for protecting their livelihood (Kairuz et al. 2021). The care of the aged in hospitals is done by introducing a separate elderly care section in hospitals and other healthcare institutions in Australia. The indigenous groups of people are preserved through the formed policies by providing free healthcare services at hospitals. The aged population of the indigenous groups are to be availed with weekly and monthly check-up by setting up campaigns in the indigenous regions (Kairuz et al. 2021). The elderly groups are protected in this policy by focusing on the “upgradation of the well-being of the community". The policy has a positive impact on the preservation of the safety of the aged groups of the indigenous population by introducing reservations of the aged groups of people.

Overall Implications of the Policy

The policy so formed has focused on the protection and up gradation of the older population of the indigenous groups of Australia. It has shown both positive as well as negative impacts on the implementation of the policies.

Positive impact

The positive aspect of the policies developed is that it has strictly prohibited the racial discrimination of Australian backwards groups of people. The elderly population have been provided with a pension by the government of Australia to improve the living standards of the indigenous community. The indigenous communities are provided with reservations in health, employment and educational sectors (Altman, 2018). The communities have benefitted from the employment perspective to a certain extent. The young population are facilitated with education and employment, while the aged population has been facilitated with the pension scheme and health scheme. The pension scheme has helped the aged groups of people to avail healthy diet and hygienic standards of living (Altman, 2018). The government has focused on the health and economy of the indigenous people with special emphasis on the elderly groups.

Racial discrimination has been controlled to a certain extent and improved the social life of the indigenous groups. The government has taken measures to protect and preserve the health of the aged population which has shown a positive impact on the well-being of the backwards groups. The mental and physical health of the aged had been found to be depleted due to the discriminative acts of society (Kairuz et al. 2021). The indigenous people are provided with reservations in the healthcare sectors of Australia and also campaigns are conducted for timely check-ups of the health of the elderly. The timely check-up has been found to be beneficial for the indigenous population to keep track of and diagnose diseases on time.

Negative impact

The policy formed to protect the indigenous population has been found to have an impact on society as well. The higher communities of Australia are found not to be abiding by the policies of the discrimination and health of the indigenous groups. Indigenous groups of people have been found to be facing the challenges of discrimination even today (Wettasinghe et al. 2020). These people have been found to be experiencing criticism and bullying from the other higher communities of Australia. The health services provided to them have also been found to be limited in the hospitals and healthcare institutions of Australia. The policy so formed has not been completely effective for the indigenous groups who are still vulnerable to being victims of harassment. The policy has not been found to be effective for the well-being of elderly people as well. The aged groups of people are still facing financial problems and health issues (Bourke Marrie & Marrie, 2018). The health issue that has increased over the years is the psychological effect on the indigenous population.

The people of Australia have been found to be indifferent to the indigenous communities of Australia. The indigenous communities are still struggling to find a stable position in the dominating society of Australia. They are suffering from mental and physical health issues, and lack proper healthcare services (Bourke Marrie & Marrie, 2018). The healthcare services of these communities lack medical facilities and effective diagnosis of the diseases. The psychological adversity of the indigenous groups of people has been found to be deteriorating with time. All these factors have led to the fall in the community's well-being and the progress of the indigenous population. The aged indigenous population has been adversely affected by criticism, racial discrimination and lack of health facilities in the Australian groups of communities (Aihw.gov.au, 2021, b). The policies thus formed have faced failure in the community upgrade.

Conclusion

The essay thus reveals that the indigenous communities of Australia have been facing discrimination with regard to their race, culture and ethics. These backward groups of people have been found to be suffering from the adversity of racial discrimination, poverty and health. The aged population are suffering the highest rate of ill effects of discrimination and poor health services. The communities have been found to be suffering from health issues especially mental health problems. The health services provided to them have also been found to be limited in the hospitals and healthcare institutions of Australia, thus leading to a fall in the health of the ageing population.

References

Websites

  • Humanrights.gov.au, (2022a). Face the facts: Older Australians. Retrieved on 28th November 2022. Retrieved from: https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/education/face-facts-older-australians
  • Humanrights.gov.au, (2022b). Social determinants and the health of Indigenous peoples in Australia – a human rights based approach. Retrieved on 28th November 2022. Retrieved from: https://humanrights.gov.au/about/news/speeches/social-determinants-and-health-indigenous-peoples-australia-human-rights-based
  • Aihw.gov.au, 2021. Older Australians. Retrieved on 28th November 2022. Retrieved from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/older-people/older-australia-at-a-glance/contents/diverse-groups-of-older-australians/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-people
  • Abs.gov.au, 2019, SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC WELLBEING OF ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY, Retrieved from: https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/4714.0~2014-15~Feature%20Article~Social%20and%20economic%20wellbeing%20of%20Aboriginal%20and%20Torres%20Strait%20Islander%20people%20with%20disability%20%28Feature%20Article%29~10001, Retrieved on: 28 November 2022
  • Globalcitizen.org, 2021, Discrimination Against Indigenous Australians Rises Substantially: Survey, Retrieved from: https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/discrimination-against-indigenous-australians-rise/, Retrieved on: 28 November 2022
  • Aihw.gov.au, 2021, b, Aged care for Indigenous Australians, Retrieved from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/aged-care-for-indigenous-australians, Retrieved on: 28 November 2022

Journals

  • Altman, J. (2018). In search of an outstations policy for Indigenous Australians. Canberra, ACT: Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR), The Australian National University. http://www.anu.edu.au/caepr/
  • Bond, C., Brough, M., Willis, J., Stajic, J., Mukandi, B., Canuto, C., ... & Lewis, T. (2019). Beyond the pipeline: a critique of the discourse surrounding the development of an Indigenous primary healthcare workforce in Australia. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 25(5), 389-394. https://www.publish.csiro.au/PY/pdf/PY19044
  • Bourke, C. J., Marrie, H., & Marrie, A. (2018). Transforming institutional racism at an Australian hospital. Australian Health Review, 43(6), 611-618. https://doi.org/10.1071/AH18062
  • Bradley, K., Smith, R., Hughson, J. A., Atkinson, D., Bessarab, D., Flicker, L., ... & LoGiudice, D. (2020). Let’s CHAT (community health approaches to) dementia in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities: protocol for a stepped wedge cluster randomised controlled trial. BMC Health Services Research, 20(1), 1-13. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12913-020-4985-1
  • Fernando, T., & Bennett, B. (2019). Creating a culturally safe space when teaching Aboriginal content in social work: A scoping review. Australian Social Work, 72(1), 47-61. https://www.academia.edu/download/57967647/Creating_a_Culturally_Safe_Space_When_Teaching_Aboriginal_Content_in_Social_Work_A_Scoping_Review.pdf
  • Hefler, M., Kerrigan, V., Henryks, J., Freeman, B., & Thomas, D. P. (2019). Social media and health information sharing among Australian Indigenous people. Health Promotion International, 34(4), 706-715. https://academic.oup.com/heapro/article-pdf/34/4/706/29211154/day018.pdf
  • Kairuz, C. A., Casanelia, L. M., Bennett-Brook, K., Coombes, J., & Yadav, U. N. (2021). Impact of racism and discrimination on physical and mental health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples living in Australia: a systematic scoping review. BMC public health, 21(1), 1-16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8254223/pdf/12889_2021_Article_11363.pdf
  • McNamara, B. J., Banks, E., Gubhaju, L., Joshy, G., Williamson, A., Raphael, B., & Eades, S. (2018). Factors relating to high psychological distress in Indigenous Australians and their contribution to Indigenous–non?Indigenous disparities. Australian and New Zealand journal of public health, 42(2), 145-152. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/1753-6405.12766
  • Menzies, K. (2019). Understanding the Australian Aboriginal experience of collective, historical and intergenerational trauma. International Social Work, 62(6), 1522-1534. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Karen-Menzies/publication/336093257_Understanding_the_Australian_Aboriginal_experience_of_collective_historical_and_intergenerational_trauma/links/5e3089b4a6fdccd965732af3/Understanding-the-Australian-Aboriginal-experience-of-collective-historical-and-intergenerational-trauma.pdf
  • Paradies, Y. (2018). Racism and indigenous health. In Oxford research encyclopedia of global public health. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190632366.013.86
  • Radford, K., Lavrencic, L. M., Delbaere, K., Draper, B., Cumming, R., Daylight, G., ... & Broe, G. A. (2019). Factors associated with the high prevalence of dementia in older Aboriginal Australians. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 70(s1), S75-S85. https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad180573
  • Shirodkar, S. (2019). Bias against Indigenous Australians: Implicit association test results for Australia. Journal of Australian Indigenous Issues, 22(3-4), 3-34. search.informit.org/doi/10.3316/informit.150032703197478
  • Temple, J. B., & Russell, J. (2018). Food insecurity among older Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders. International journal of environmental research and public health, 15(8), 1766. https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/15/8/1766/pdf
  • Temple, J. B., Kelaher, M., & Paradies, Y. (2020). Experiences of racism among older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: Prevalence, sources, and association with mental health. Canadian Journal on Aging/La Revue canadienne du vieillissement, 39(2), 178-189. https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/C3657006EC31691D908DB7F2272BE1BF/S071498081900031Xa.pdf/experiences_of_racism_among_older_aboriginal_and_torres_strait_islander_people_prevalence_sources_and_association_with_mental_health.pdf
  • Thompson, F., Harriss, L. R., Russell, S., Taylor, S., Cysique, L. A., Strivens, E., ... & McDermott, R. (2022). Using health check data to investigate cognitive function in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders living with diabetes in the Torres Strait, Australia. Endocrinology, diabetes & metabolism, 5(1), e00297. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/edm2.297
  • Thurber, K. A., Colonna, E., Jones, R., Gee, G. C., Priest, N., Cohen, R., ... & Mayi Kuwayu Study Team. (2021). Prevalence of everyday discrimination and relation with wellbeing among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults in Australia. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(12), 6577. https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/18/12/6577/pdf
  • Tynan, A., Walker, D., Tucker, T., Fisher, B., & Fisher, T. (2020). Factors influencing the perceived importance of oral health within a rural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Australia. BMC Public Health, 20(1), 1-9. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12889-020-08673-x
  • Wettasinghe, P. M., Allan, W., Garvey, G., Timbery, A., Hoskins, S., Veinovic, M., ... & Delbaere, K. (2020). Older Aboriginal Australians’ health concerns and preferences for healthy ageing programs. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(20), 7390. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7600369/

Appendices :

Appendix 1: Projected number of older indigenous people from 2001 to 2031

Projected number of older indigenous people from 2001 to 2031

 (Source- Aihw.gov.au, 2021)


Appendix 2: A model program on the health of the ageing population of indigenous people

A model program on the health of the ageing population of indigenous people

(Source: Wettasinghe et al. 2020)

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