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Talking books on diabetes, dementia in Vietnamese

Talking books on dementia and diabetes are on the way, with the learning needs of the older Vietnamese population in mind.

The free books, developed by the Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS), aim to help people self-manage their diabetes or deal better with a cognitive impairment or dementia. They consist of more than 40 information sheets on different topics that can be read online. People can also listen to the information, so those without a high-level of schooling or with vision impairment can access the data.

“People are expected to self-manage their illness, in particular diabetes – it affects them all day, every day – so it’s about presenting them with information they can read but also information that they can understand and then put into action,” RDNS diversity manager Jaklina Michael said.

She said there were 120 different languages spoken amongst RDNS patients and that the Vietnamese population was now being targeted because of its rapid ageing – many came to Australia prior to the ’70s.

“We also know there is a low take-up of aged-care services by this population group, so it’s about developing products that are relevant to them, that are appropriate and that are going to meet their needs,” Michael said.

RDNS is working in partnership with the Australian-Vietnamese Women’s Association on the project and has tested the resource with community members to ensure the language is understandable and culturally appropriate.

Michael said it was necessary to target resources for population groups and health professionals in order for them to do their work. She said health professionals could use the resource in one-on-one consultations and for sessions in a community health setting, as well as in aged-care facilities with individuals or groups.

RDNS hopes to have the resource online early next year. Italian, Greek and Macedonian talking books on diabetes are already available on the RDNS website.

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