Author: Juping Yu and Dr Royiah Saltus, University of South Wales

Day Two – Wednesday 26th June

Strand – Health & Well Being

Session Five: 11.15am – 12.45pm

The increasing number, longevity and heterogeneity of older people in the UK are some of the challenges facing social care services. Drawing findings from a large mixed-method study on perceptions of dignity, care, and support in relation to older women from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds, this paper explores their views, as perceived by service providers.

An all-Wales survey was conducted using a questionnaire to collect data. One-hundred and twenty-four responses were received from those providing care or support for older people. The majority were female (89%) from a white background (81%). An important minority perceived that older women from BME backgrounds would think that they were seldom or never offered opportunities (22%) and support (8%) to express their needs, and to be involved in their own care (28%). Significantly fewer respondents had such perceptions of older people in general. Compared to other needs, psychological and religious needs were thought least likely always to be taken into account. Some respondents believed that older women would think they were seldom or never provided with language choices for communication (44%) or with information relevant to their ethnic/cultural backgrounds (37%).

Differences in perceptions according to sectors and professional roles were found. The findings indicate some inequalities in care and support services for older people and suggest the need to improve the overall quality of such services. Exploration of how services are provided and received, and barriers and enhancers associated with delivery can inform service improvement.

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