According to a study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, increasing numbers of older migrants tend to revert to their birth language as they age. This is known as language attrition.Preferred ECH clients Arthur and Joanna JER35454 min

The study found, for example, that 73% of migrants aged 65-74 spoke their birth language at home, increasing to 82% among migrants aged 85 and over.

ECH client Joanna, who migrated to South Australia from her native Greece more than 50 years ago, has benefitted greatly in the past year since she has been connected with a Greek-speaking Home Support Team Member.

When Joanna started receiving some extra support including cleaning, gardening and social outings through her Level 2 Home Care Package last year, she felt self- conscious about her limited English skills.

While Joanna learnt and spoke enough English to get by in her jobs throughout her early years in Australia, her daughter Litsa says she had noticed her mum’s English skills dwindling.

“As mum has gotten older, and more isolated, she doesn’t really use English – if you don’t use it, you lose it,” Litsa says.

For the past 20 – 30 years that mum and dad haven’t worked, they’ve lost a lot of English and as a result, lost that confidence.

Litsa, while happy with the services her mum was receiving, wondered if more could be done to put her mum at ease.

ECH clients Arthur and Joanna JER35486 min 1

“The ladies who came out to help mum were lovely, but mum felt self-conscious not being able to speak English well, so we asked if there was anyone that speaks Greek that could take mum out,” Litsa says.

“ECH went through the Greek Welfare Centre and that’s how we met Effie.”

Over the past year, Effie has been visiting Joanna for two hours every fortnight to assist her with shopping and paying bills, and Litsa has noticed her mum is far more comfortable and engaged when communicating in her birth language.

“It’s been wonderful for mum; it gives her self-confidence. Mum is still independent, she loves cooking and tending to her garden, she’s a green thumb, but she needed that extra support as she continues to care for dad.”

Providing a full service, wherever that comes from, is making sure our clients’ wellbeing remains the centre of our focus. ECH uses a mixture of solutions and services to enable you to remain living confidently and independently at home.

It’s a huge relief when someone enters your home, and you can communicate with them and their smile is worth a million dollars.

says Litsa.

Let ECH work out what help you can get and how to go about getting it.

Joanna says: “I’m very pleased with everyone and I’m very thankful for the help I receive at home.”

Learn how to make Joanna’s kourambiethes, a traditional Greek holiday biscuit.

To learn more about how ECH can help you get more out of life with support at home.

Posted: December 12, 2023