Scottish housing provider supporting major research report
A major research report, which aims to provide unprecedented insights into the growing needs of ethnic minority older people in Scotland, is being supported by Bield.
The findings from the Count Us In research is now to be used to help housing providers across Scotland to deliver culturally appropriate care, accommodation and inclusion.
The project is the brainchild of Rohini Sharma Joshi FCIH, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Manager for Trust Housing Association and the project manager of the Older People Services Project. The Project is jointly run by Bield, Trust, and Hanover (Scotland) housing associations and funded by the National Lottery’s Community Fund.
Bield Chief Executive Dr Lynne Douglas said Bield is committed to reaching out to all customers who face barriers in accessing services.
“The Older People Services project was borne out of a proactive initiative to investigate the needs and challenges of ethnic minority older people in Scotland and then use that research data to inform and drive our equal opportunities programmes.
“The project has been a huge success. We have learned so much by listening to this most vulnerable group of older people. And we are now excited by the opportunities we have identified where we can make a real difference in improving services for them and changing their lives for the better.”
The research team, who were multi-lingual, spoke to more than 400 ethnic minority older people over a period of three years and used both one-to-one interviews and focus groups to listen to and record the stories. These older people spoke about their life journeys and achievements, as well as the many ways they struggle with deteriorating mental and physical health, unable to overcome the language, cultural and digital barriers to accessing support.
The core research took the form of a questionnaire covering the key topics of home environment, financial wellbeing, health, care and caring roles and participation in society.
Focus groups with both older people and community staff supplemented the interviews with both approaches providing opportunities for individuals to open up and let their voices be heard on many topics, some of which were normally off limits because of the social stigma attached to them.
Rohini said: “Scotland is a small country but it has a big heart. We need to capitalise on this and ensure that we put the dream of integrated, multicultural, inclusive communities into action. This can only be done when we start to really grapple with the issues at the core of this ideal and take positive, practical steps to start making it a reality.
“We took the Count us In research programme into the homes of some of Scotland’s most vulnerable older people in order to find out what was really going on. These older people trusted us and told us their stories, many of which exposed truly appalling living conditions, unmet physical and mental health needs, insupportable burdens of care and heartbreaking situations of isolation and loneliness.”
Minister for Equalities and Older People Christina McKelvie said: “Our society has an ageing population that is growing faster in Scotland than the rest of the UK. That’s why we want to put systems in place to enable our older people to live well and independently for as long as possible.
“Count Us In is a valuable resource providing crucial insights into the very specific needs and struggles of Scotland’s ethnic minority older people. These insights will put people at the heart of our policies, and help service providers to deliver culturally appropriate care, accommodation and inclusion.”
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