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ItemThe social support and service needs of Australia’s ageing Greek migrants: a pilot project(Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand (MGSAANZ), 2011)This article explores the social support and service needs of Greek-speakers in Australia who migrated as young adults mostly in the 1940s and 1950s. The article reports the findings of a pilot research project initiated by the Modern Greek department at Flinders University in conjunction with social, health and ageing researchers. Focus groups and interviews were held in Adelaide and Darwin in 2010 with older Greek-speakers born in Greece and Cyprus; a survey of service organisations was also conducted. All older Greeks chose to be interviewed in Greek. They reported using a range of formal services, although some were confused about how to access services and lacked awareness of services. Interrupted primary education had resulted in low reading proficiency in Greek, while settlement experiences had contributed to low proficiency in reading, writing and speaking English. These were major barriers to accessing services with no Greek-speaking staff. In line with cultural expectations, a key support role was played by adult children, while some Greek-speaking GPs and MPs also mediated information and service access. Many older Greeks appear to be living independently in the community, but this is only possible because of high levels of informal support from close family. Those without children may therefore be more vulnerable to social isolation. The Modern Greek researchers who were integral members of the research team acted as ‘insiders’ who shared the culture and language of interviewees. Since all interviewees chose to be interviewed in Modern Greek, the ability to conduct interviews in Greek clearly enabled their participation, whereas they may have declined to participate had interviews only been available in English. At the same time, the non-Greek researchers provided a critical ‘outsider’ view which strengthened the data analysis and interpretation. We conclude that this project has demonstrated the important role that Modern Greek academics can play in research on social and health issues among the Greek diaspora.
ItemThe social support and service needs of Australia’s ageing Greek migrants: a literature review.(Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand (MGSAANZ), 2011)This paper presents the results of a literature review undertaken to shape an emerging social research program on the service and support needs of Australia’s ageing Greek migrants. In late 2009 a narrative review was conducted of published and ‘grey’ literature to determine the scope of articles, with an emphasis on services and supports which help older people remain independent in the community. The search returned an extensive amount of international literature on ageing populations, but only a very small number of publications on the service use and needs of Australia’s older Greek population. Barriers to service use included low proficiency in English, lack of Greek-speaking service providers, low awareness of services available, and various cultural issues. The review also identified a lack of research carried out in the Greek language by researchers with a Greek background, which suggests that the views of older Greek migrants may be missing from much social research. We conclude that a sustained and culturally appropriate research effort conducted in the first language is needed and is essential if community-based services are to become more appropriate and accessible for the older members of Australia’s Greek communities.