- Aged care services and residential aged care facilities may be seen as a last resort.
- Italians are generally self-reliant, independent and proud people who are reluctant to give up their independence.
- There is a lack of trust especially when service providers enter the home.
- The cost associated with using a service is an important factor when deciding whether or not to use a service as Italians are generally stringent with money.
- Older Italians tend not to submit formal complaints if they are unhappy with a service. This is due mainly to the fact that they do not know how. But the reality is that they do complain amongst each other and to their children.
A carer’s experience of deciding to use respite care.
Many older Italians hold the belief that aged care services are a last resort and they are reluctant to accept assistance until they absolutely need it. This is reflected in current statistics which indicate that many Italians only start using services at crises points.
The reluctance of Italians to use services is due to a combination of factors:
Their migration experience has instilled in them a strong sense of independence and self reliance bringing with it a sense of pride. To use a service would appear as an admission of weakness and also create the fear of loss of control.
A belief and expectation is that their children will take on the carer role. Even when asked if they need assistance they will not admit to it and instead will say that their son or daughter is looking after them when in fact this isn’t the case.
There is a lack of trust in services, especially service providers entering their home. Many older Italians hold stereotypical beliefs regarding the consequences of entering an aged care facility. Based on what they have heard “through the grapevine” they believe they will be treated poorly by staff, given medication to keep them quiet, locked up like in a prison and eventually will die there.
Also, as many older Italians are not aware of aged care services, they tend to be concerned about the cost of these services. Money management has always been an important aspect in their lives.
Many older people who are already receiving services or who are in residential facilities are afraid to highlight a problem that they might have in case they are thought of as non gracious or complaining and also due to the fear that if they complain they may be mistreated.
Another reason why older Italians tend not to use aged care services is because they have limited knowledge of services available or they do not know how to access services.