Many older South Australians remain in their communities as they age. Continuing social participation and community involvement is linked to positive health and wellbeing. However, this also carries challenges particularly for older South Australians living in regional and rural areas as there is a recognised link between living in a regional area and poorer health status and outcomes for older South Australians. Other challenges faced by older South Australians include:

  • caring responsibilities - a large number of older South Australians providing care to a child or other family member

  • social isolation - 25% of older South Australians live alone and 20% of older South Australians were born overseas. Language and cultural barriers can exacerbate social isolation.

  • discrimination faced by older South Australians who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex or Queer (LGBTIQ)

  • financial fragility - 83% of older South Australians live in a private house, but 44% of these are still paying off a mortgage with many also experiencing increasing health care related costs

  • elder abuse and risk of vulnerability and isolation.

People who are experiencing, or are at risk of experiencing homelessness

On the most basic level, homelessness is the state or condition of having no home.  But what is "home?" A home is more than having shelter - a home and the people who live in it - need to be secure, safe and connected.

In South Australia, complex and variable individual circumstances result in approximately 6,000 people experiencing homelessness each year.  Extended periods of homelessness impacts on people’s health and wellbeing and erodes self-confidence and belief in a brighter future. People who experience homelessness are among the most marginalised people in Australia. Homelessness is one of the most potent examples of disadvantage in the community, and one of the most important markers of social exclusion (Department of Human Services, 2002). To have a socially inclusive Australia, all Australians must have the capabilities, opportunities, responsibilities and resources to learn, work, engage and have a say (Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, 2012).

Children and Young People who are affected by the criminal justice system

Children and young people may be directly or indirectly affected by the criminal justice system. They could have an incarcerated parent or relative or they themselves may have been incarcerated.

Research has shown that having a parent in prison is a significant predictor of future criminal behaviour, with children of prisoners being seven times more likely to go to prison than their peers. On any given day in Australia, approximately 38,000 children have a parent in prison (Quilty, 2005). The problems experienced by children of prisoners are well documented: isolation, behavioural difficulties at school, anxiety, insecurity, withdrawal, anger, and mental health concerns.

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities

South Australia has a long history of multiculturalism and a large multicultural population characterised by a great diversity of cultures, languages and religious affiliations.

Today, approximately 20% of all South Australians were born overseas and 40% have at least one parent who was born overseas. Approximately one in seven South Australians mainly speaks a language other than English at home, with more than 200 languages spoken in total. While many migrants successfully settle and enjoy a high quality of life, others can experience disadvantage and isolation due to their personal experiences and situation including:

  • differences in language

  • cultural differences

  • real and perceived discrimination

  • prejudice and racism

  • adapting to a new, unfamiliar environment

  • experiences of war, famine, torture and trauma.

Migrants living in rural or regional South Australia face the same constraints as the rest of the population in relation to accessing programs and services but can face additional challenges due to limited English language proficiency and understanding of the service system.

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