+ General Country Information
+ History
+ Concept of Time
+ Family and friends
+ Gender
+ I or We Attitudes
+ Manners and Taboos
+ Spiritual care
+ Communication Style
+ Greetings
+ Language and Communication
+ Non-verbal Communication - Eye contact
+ Non-verbal Communication - Gestures
+ Non-verbal Communication - Personal Space
+ Attitudes and understanding of dementia and other health issues
+ Attitudes to end of life care
+ Attitudes to pain
+ Attitudes to residential care
+ Care information
+ Cultural Activities
+ Cultural Traits
+ Food and Diet
+ Music
+ Special Days - Christmas
+ Special Days - Easter
+ Special Days - New Year
+ Special Days - Other
+ Superstitions

Compare with another culture

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Australian

Chinese

Croatian

Dutch

Filipino

German

Greek

Hungarian

Indian

Italian

Malaysian

Maltese

Maori

Nepalese

New Zealander

Polish

South Korean

Spanish

Sri Lankan

Ukrainian

Vietnamese

Generalist

  • The Philippines is a collection of islands (known as an archipelago) that are located in the continent of Asia.
  • Manila is the capital of the Philippines.
  • The major ethnic groups in the Philippines include; Bicol 6%, Bisaya/Binisaya 7.6%, Cebuano 13.1%, Hiligaynon Ilonggo 7.5%, Ilocano 9%, Tagalog 28.1%, Waray 3.4%, as well as others 25.3% (Central Intelligence Agency 2000).
  • The population of the Philippines is 102,624,209 (Central Intelligence Agency 2016).
  • Manila, Pateros and Caloocan all rate highly on the list of highest population density cities in the world.
  • The climate is tropical (often hot and humid), with a wet season from June until October.

Useful definitions

  • “Philippines” refers to the country.
  • “Filipino” refers to people that come from the Philippines.
  • “Filipina” specifically refers to females from the Philippines.
  • “Pinoy” is slang amongst Filipinos to one another.

Tips

  • Understand that a person’s country of birth does not define their culture. Whilst we are “born into culture” we are not “born with culture”. A person’s “culture” is something that is learnt from our environment and by our individual experiences. It continuously adapts to our changing circumstances throughout our lives.
  • Determine what culture or cultures your care recipient identifies with.
  • Keep in mind that the culture in metropolitan areas varies with culture in rural areas and that culture in different regions within a country may also vary significantly.
  • Learn about your care recipient’s life history, and who they identify with, to determine their individual cultural traits. Document any significant details.
  • Understand how your care recipient’s culture informs their values, behaviours, beliefs assumptions, likes, dislikes and sensitivities.

Resources

Generalist

History of Migration in Australia

  • Records indicate Filipinos worked in Australia as early as 1872, as pearl divers in Broome and Thursday Island.
  • Filipinos initially lived predominantly in Western Australia and Queensland, and the population of Philippine-born increased until the 1900s.
  • From 1901, changes to immigration laws (excluding non-Europeans to Australia) meant a decrease in Filipino numbers settling in Australia.
  • Migration of Filipinos increased again in the 1950s with the implementation of the Colombo Plan (a scheme which sponsored students to come to Australia and study) as many remained in Australia after graduation.
  • The 1970s and 1980s also saw many Filipino women migrating as spouses of Australian residents. Other family members were often later sponsored by their family to migrate.
  • Many Filipinos have migrated to Australia as skilled migrants in more recent years.
  • Philippine-born migrants are one of the fastest growing in Australia.

History of Philippines

  • Refer to History Resources

Tips

  • Determine exactly where your care recipient was born and where they lived. For example; was your care recipient born in Australia, or did they migrate to Australia? If they migrated, how and why did your care recipient migrate to Australia? What experiences and associations do they have of their home country? If they have lived in other countries; where have they lived? How long did they spend in other countries and what did they do whilst they were there?
  • Be aware and sensitive to any stress that may have been experienced as a result of their history (this may include; family separation, homesickness, conflict, depression and isolation).
  • The knowledge of a person’s history may assist with a better understanding of the care recipient as well as any associated psychological issues resulting from their past.
  • Understand how your care recipient’s culture informs their values, behaviours, beliefs assumptions, likes, dislikes and sensitivities and document any significant details.

Resources

Generalist

  • The Philippines is defined as a “collectivist” culture. This means that Filipinos act primarily in the interests of the group (The Hofstede Centre).
  • Philippines scores 32 on the Individualism versus Collectivism (IDV) index. (Hofstede centre).
  • The index scale ranges from 0-100 with 50 as a mid-level. The low numbers indicate “collectivist” cultures, and high numbers indicate “individualist” cultures.

Tips

• Identify and document if your care recipient is an “individualist” with an “I” attitude of self and immediate family, or a “collectivist” with a “we” or group attitude, or if they have both “collectivist” and “individualist” traits.
• Allow for a “collectivist” person to feel the comfort of doing most things in a group setting and for an “individualist” person to have more opportunities for themselves.

Resources

Generalist

In the Philippines

  • The major religious affiliations in the Philippines include; Catholic 82.9% - of which 80.9% are Roman Catholic, Aglipayan 2%), Muslim 5%, Evangelical 2.8%, Iglesia ni Cristo 2.3%, other Christian religions 4.5%, as well as a small proportion of people who were of other religious affiliation (1.8%) or unspecified (0.6%) or none at all 0.1% (Central Intelligence Agency, 2000).
  • There are no other Christian nations in Asia besides the Philippines.

In Australia

  • Filipino people in Australia are predominantly Catholic, Christian, and Pentecostal (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011).

General

  • Different cultures and religions have different expectations of care in regards to toileting, dressing and feeding.
  • Every culture and religion vary greatly in spiritual needs and this may impact on the acceptability of certain treatments and medications. Therefore, it is paramount to identify the care recipient’s religion and cultural background to appropriately address the supports and services required.
  • For further information, refer to Spiritual care resources.

Tips

  • Accept and respect that customs, religious and spiritual beliefs vary from one culture to another and that the beliefs of your care recipient may significantly differ to your own beliefs.
  • Utilise resources and attend training sessions to increase your own knowledge about different religious and spiritual beliefs.
  • It is useful to ask care recipients a range of questions such as; ‘what helps you cope in difficult times’ and ‘what is important to you’ to determine ways to enhance their care.
  • Be aware of the significance of spiritual needs to your care recipient. Identify and document their religious beliefs and spiritual needs such as; any special requirements regarding food, personal care, linguistic needs or religious impacts towards treatments and/or medication.
  • Identify and provide access to relevant religious literature, radio, TV, live stream services, DVDs and CDs.
  • Support care recipients to maintain religious networks and religious representation and facilitate outings to places of worship.
  • Acknowledge and observe days of religious significance to your care recipients in a culturally appropriate manner.

Resources

Generalist

  • Filipinos value extended families.
  • Family is the centre of social structure in Filipino society and includes the immediate family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins as well as sponsors, godparents and close family friends.
  • Family members support each other and they gain strength and support from this network.
  • For example; support is provided when a member of the family is seeking employment (it is common for family members to work for the same company).

Respect for elders and superiors

  • The prefix ‘Tito’ (meaning uncle), ‘Tita’ (meaning aunty), ‘Ninong’ (Meaning male Godparent), and ‘Ninang’ (Meaning female Godparent) may be used before Christian or first names as a sign of respect.
  • An elderly relative will often receive a special greeting from younger Filipino family members (typically when the younger person enters their home). The greeting  includes; a bow, taking the right hand of their relative and touching it on the head of the younger family, and saying ‘Mano po’ (or another similar greeting).

Family support

  • Filipino society often includes three generations of the family living together in the same house with grandmothers usually caring for their grandchildren (known as ‘taga-alaga’).
  • Grandmothers also often play the role of housekeeper (known as ‘taongbahay’), clean the family home and prepare food in preparation of their children and grandchildren’s return.
  • There is a sense of reciprocal obligation and gratitude for elderly relatives within the Filipino culture (known as ‘utang na loob’). This means ‘debt from within.’ Children have a sense of obligation to care for their elderly relatives who have cared for them.

Tips

  • Be aware and sensitive to the fact that some people may have become separated from family for a range of reasons including; Stolen Generations, war, conflict, disaster or migration.
  • Families and friends from different cultures will have a different understanding of dementia and their expectation of care for their loved one may vary significantly.
  • Provide communication and information in accordance with their language and literacy level and facilitate all achievable care expectations.
  • Gain an understanding of the dynamics of your care recipient’s family and friends and engage with them whenever required/needed.
  • Ensure that roles in decision-making about care of the person with dementia have been clearly established and documented.
  • Research indicates that carers of people living with dementia experience greater strain and distress than carers of other people.
  • It is important to be sensitive to the feelings of shame and guilt that family members and friends may be experiencing.

“Family and friends” resources

  • A range of information to help support family and friends is available in the “Family and friends, resources” section below.
  • A range of health information helpsheets in Tagalog are available in the “Language and communication, resources” section of this app.

Resources

Generalist

In Australia

  • The main languages spoken by Filipino-born Australians at home are Tagalog, Filipino and English (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011).
  • The majority of Filipino-born Australians (95.5%) who reported that they spoke another language at home indicated that they speak English very well or well, whilst about 3.1% spoke English well or not at all.

In the Philippines

  • Filipino (based on the Tagalog dialect) and English are the official languages of the Philippines.
  • Other major dialects include; Bicol, Cebuano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Ilocano, Pangasinan and Waray.
  • English is widely used and understood in the Philippines, including in the education and government sectors as well as in the commercial setting.
  • Filipinos may also use a mixture of English and Filipino words and phrases (referred to as “Taglish”).
  • Spanish was previously an official language, however this is now spoken by declining numbers of Filipinos.

Naming conventions

  • The “last name” (usually referred to as the family name) is the surname of the father.
  • Middle names are not the norm with Filipinos. In the instance that a Filipino person has a middle name, it is common for it to be the surname of their mother.
  • Filipino people may use a nickname for their first name (which differs to their birth name, such as a shortened version of their name, or a completely different name). This is often done to differentiate people within the Filipino community.
  • It is common for nicknames to be provided during initial contact. 

Other points about language

  • It may be considered embarrassing or shameful to ask for an interpreter due to self-pride (known as “amor propio”).
  • People with dementia may revert to native languages. Contrary to popular belief, this is not always Tagalog (the official Filipino language).
  • “Filipino” is a term used that refers to people from the Philippines as well as a name for the national language.
     

Tips

  • Being able to communicate effectively is crucial to the physical and emotional well-being of the care recipient.
  • Be careful not to underestimate or assume the communication capacity of a person with dementia.
  • Ensure that the care recipient has participation in decisions that affect them.
  • The words you use when speaking to, and about, a person with dementia matters. It is important to always use positive and enabling language and to not use words that may cause offense.
  • Ensure the health care and personal care plans and reviews identify and support the linguistic needs of your care recipient and their family.  Be mindful that linguistic considerations should include the care recipients’ menu choices, food services, their religious and spiritual needs, and their ability to participate in activities. Determine what language(s) they are able to speak, read and write. Communicate with them and provide information according to their language preference and literacy level.
  • Identify and record and health issues such as poor hearing, poor eyesight, dehydration or problems with dentures to ensure there is no miscommunication with your care recipient.
  • Be aware that most people with dementia will revert back to their native tongue and/or other languages they have learnt.
  • Care recipients should always be given the choice to use professional translators and interpreters. Provide professional translators and interpreters to your care recipients and/or to their family whenever they request the need, when the care plan is developed, when the care plan is reviewed and at any time when “informed consent” is required.
  • Care recipients often prefer to communicate with a care worker from their own cultural background therefore the use of bilingual staff or volunteers should be always be considered and provided whenever possible. The care recipient should however be given this choice rather than it be assumed that this is their preference.
  • Provide visual aids, use gestures and physical prompts, and learn and use key words in the person’s own language to improve communication during routine care and other simple service interventions.
  • Ensure that communication is adapted to the care recipient’s level of dementia and understand the importance of allowing more time for those in later stages to understand and respond to you.
  • Support your care recipients' individual choices by providing access to media such as radio, TV, live stream services, DVDs, CDs and books in their preferred language.
  • All staff and volunteers should undertake training in cultural awareness, appropriate communication and the correct use of telephone and on-site interpreting services.

Language and Communication resources

  • Refer to the “Language and Communication, Resources” section below for a wide range of information (including communication cards, signage, health information in community languages, etc.)
  • Translating and Interpreter contact details and other relevant information is available in the "Links, Translating and Interpreting" section. 

Advice and Support

  • Seek advice and support from the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) if required – phone 1800 699 799.
     

Resources

Generalist

Greetings

  • Gentle and brief handshakes are commonly used. A pat on the arm may also accompany the handshake.
  • Handshakes are also used when men and women greet, however, it is the woman who initiates the handshake.
  • Amongst friends and acquaintances, a simple acknowledgment by raising the eyebrows is common.

Meeting Etiquette

  • A handshake with a smile is the usual form of greeting.
  • It is important to greet in order of age (the eldest first), or the most important person first.
  • Status is important to Filipinos and acknowledging formal titles is considered a sign of respect. A person’s full title (including their prefix such as Doctor, Professor, etc.) should be used when greeting, unless invited to use their first name or nickname.
  • Business cards may also be exchanged. These should be given and accepted with both hands.

Pronunciation of Tagalog greetings

English                      Pronunciation                   

Good morning          [MA-GUN-DUNG UM-AGA]

Good afternoon       [MA-GUN–DUNG HA-PON]

Goodbye                   [PAA–LAM–NA- PO]

How are you?           [KU-MU-STA]  note: 'KU' sounds like 'COO' and 'MU' sounds like 'MOO'

  • Care workers may connect with the person with dementia or family by showing interest in learning some of their language.

Tips

  • Start building trust and rapport from the first time you meet your care recipient. Ensure you correctly pronounce their name. Smile and speak clearly. Be respectful and make sure the care recipient understands you.
  • Establish and document how your care recipient prefers to be greeted. Take into account; formality, titles, preferred name(s), any different greeting expectations from different genders or from people from a different generation, and the way(s) they like and dislike to be greeted. 
  • Understand that a person with severe dementia will think that each time they see you during the day is for the first time. Therefore ensure that you greet them in an appropriate, friendly and caring manner each time you meet.

Language and Communication resources

  • Translating and Interpreter contact details and other relevant information is available in the "Links, Translating and Interpreting" section. 

Advice and Support

  • Seek advice and support from the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) if required – phone 1800 699 799.

Resources

Generalist

  • Filipino communication style is calm and in control of their emotions, and non-confrontational.
  • The tone of ones’ voice is usually kept even and controlled.
  • Touch (on the hand or shoulder) is quite common during a conversation with between Filipinos of the same gender.
  • Upholding reputation or “maintaining face” is an important part of Filipino culture. Actions such as; expressing anger, negativity, or being embarrassed in public result in “loss of face” and this has negative consequences.
  • Filipino people will rarely say “no” and will usually avoid disagreement.
  • The word “yes” may be used when Filipino actually means “maybe” or “no.
  • The cultural concept of “Pakikisama” roughly means “group loyalty”. This is linked with maintaining harmony, and as such disagreement and interpersonal tensions are considered negative aspects of behaviour.
  • A group decision may be needed before a definitive answer can be given.

Terms and phrases to avoid

  • Filipino people generally prefer to be referred to as “senior citizens” as they consider themselves as important, contributing members of society.
  • The terms “elderly”, “frail-aged” or “people with a disability” carry connotations that one is weak and no longer able to contribute to the family.
  • Filipino people may be offended if they are asked “do you understand?” as an alternative “are there any questions?” may be a more encouraging way to ask the question.

Suggested topics of conversation

  • Culture and customs
  • Life back home in the Philippines
  • Family
  • Filipino fiestas or festivals 
  • Sports, particularly basketball
  • Food, especially Filipino dishes

Tips

Care recipient

  • Identify the communication style of your care recipient.
  • Be aware that communication styles vary from one culture to another.
  • Realise that physical, sensory, psychological and social issues can impact on the ability to communicate effectively. Make a note of any that are relevant to your care recipient.

Care worker

  • To ensure that the care recipient can understand you avoid speaking too quickly or using slang, acronyms or jargon. Also try not to give too much information at one time.
  • Be aware not to use patronising speech or a demeaning tone as this can lead to a communication breakdown.
  • Remember than non-verbal communication such as body language is just as important as verbal communication. Ensure that your tone matches your body language to avoid miscommunication.
  • Be kind and caring in your communication with the care recipient. Remember the person with dementia has a lifetime of experiences and is a person with feelings, even though may have lost the capacity to think or behave like they used to.

Language and Communication resources

  • Translating and Interpreter contact details and other relevant information is available in the "Links, Translating and Interpreting" section. 

Advice and Support

  • Seek advice and support from the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) if required – phone 1800 699 799.

Resources

Generalist

  • Filipinos generally prefer indirect eye contact.
  • Direct and continuous eye contact can be considered rude and confrontational.
  • Brief eye contact may be used as a form of greeting, along with raising and lowering the eyebrows. This gesture shows acknowledgement and may indicate you have been understood.

Tips

  • Determine and document if the care recipient prefers direct or indirect eye contact and if there are any different expectations from different genders or from people from a different generation.

Resources

Generalist

  • The non-confrontational and “face saving” aspects of Filipino culture means that a smile may be used to mask embarrassment, nervousness or other discomfort, rather than amusement or approval.
  • Two males, or two females may hold hands in public, as a sign of friendship.
  • Placing hands on one’s hip can be an indication of anger or displeasure.
  • People summon others by extending an arm and making a scratching motion with their fingers.
  • Instead of pointing to someone, Filipino people may pucker their lips towards the person they are referring to and may also shift their eyes in the same direction.

Tips

  • Any gestures you use need to be respectful to the person with dementia.
  • Body language can provide important clues and increased understanding for both the carer and the care recipient. However many gestures have different meanings in different cultures therefore take care to ensure there is no miscommunication.
  • Document any gestures that the care recipient prefers to use or any gestures they find offensive.
  • Determine if the care recipient has expectations from different genders or from people from a different generation in relation to the use of touch. For example; if they find it appropriate/comforting for someone to hold their hand when they are upset or in pain.

Resources

Generalist

  • Filipino people often stand an arms-length from each other and distance of two and half to three feet apart is often the norm. This distance may be farther for people that are not known to each other.
  • Most cities in the Philippines are densely populated, therefore in public spaces where space is limited, it is not uncommon for people to push past one another.

Tips

  • Determine and document how the care recipient feels about their personal space and if there are any different expectations from different genders or from people from a different generation.
  • Allow for a “collectivist” person (with a “we” or group attitude) to feel the comfort of doing most things in the space with others (group settings) and for an “individualist” person (with an “I” attitude of self and immediate family) to have opportunities to have personal space for themselves.

Resources

Generalist

  • Filipinos are generally not punctual. Instead, they tend to practice flexibility with time.
  • Usually more importance is placed on people and relationships, rather than on set schedules.
  • Filipinos are often less punctual when arriving for meetings.
  • They are generally past and present orientated and therefore they may disregard health matters.
  • The Filipino concept of time is linked to the philosophy of “bahala na” which means leaving things in God’s hands. This term is used quite frequently.

Tips

  • Determine and document how the care recipient and the family view “the concept of time”. For example; do they like to be punctual? Do they expect others to be punctual?
  • Ensure the care recipient's concept of time does not adversely impact on meal times, activities and other scheduled events.
  • Be mindful that shaming and blaming someone for being late can cause feelings of guilt and low self-esteem. Instead, use positive communication. For example; you might ask “Would a different time would be more suitable”?

Resources

Generalist

Global Gender Gap Index 2016 rankings

  • Philippines ranked 7th on a global index measuring gender equality out of 144 countries. (World Economic Forum, Global Gender Gap Report 2016).

Marriage

  • Since the signing of the Magna Carta into law in 2009, women and men have equal rights to enter into or leave marriage, as well as the decision on the number and spacing of children.
  • The Family Code prescribes that the legal age of marriage is 18 years, however Muslim Personal Law enables marriage of girls under 18 and also allows arranged marriages.

Inheritance

  • Civil law does not discriminate between sons and daughters with regard to inheritance.

Equality

  • Women hold the same social and political rights as men.
  • Women also hold high positions in politics, business and the home.

Tips

  • For many people with dementia the gender of the care workers is important, particularly in sensitive situations. Determine and document if they have any preferences, concerns or expectations regarding care provided by someone of a different gender.
  • Accept and respect that male-female roles in families may vary significantly among different cultures.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersexed (LGBTI) people with dementia

  • Don’t assume the gender preference of the person with dementia.
  • Recognise that even those that have children may not be completely heterosexual and understand that it could take some time for a care recipient to gain enough trust to share personal information about their gender preference.
  • Begin by evaluating yourself and any assumptions, phobias, biases or beliefs that you might hold internally.
  • Utilise resources and attend training sessions to increase your own knowledge about LGBTI people.
  • Understand the importance of your first and immediate reaction or response. Be aware of your own reactions - not only what you think, but also be aware of what you say and what body language you use.
  • Most LGBTI people have experienced rejection, stigma, discrimination and abuse and therefore have a fear of receiving inadequate treatment, being denied services or facing further discrimination or prejudice. It is vitally important to create a non-judgmental open and caring atmosphere free from discrimination. Confidentiality is also a vital aspect of care for LGBTI care recipients.
  • Be careful with the terminology you use to the care recipient and their partners.
  • Provide partners of LGBTI care recipients with the same respect and privileges that you would give to a spouse or relative.      

Resources

Generalist

World Alzheimer’s Day

  • Alzheimer associations around the world unite for World Alzheimer’s Day on the 21st of September each year, to help make a difference for people with dementia and their families and carers worldwide.

Dementia in the Philippines

  • The word dementia in the Filipino language is “oliane” this translates to “become forgetful”.

Illness and disability

  • A philosophy within many Asian cultures is that suffering is a part of life. This can delay people seeking medical treatments (both traditional and Western).
  • Mental health is generally poorly understood, and can be associated with stigma and resulting in a reluctance to seek medical help.
  • There are some phrases within the Tagalog language that are used to describe dementia, including; the phrase “nagbablik sa pagkabinata” which means going back to childhood and the phrase “tumatandang paurong” which means growing old backwards.
  • The word “ulianin” may also be used to refer to occasional forgetfulness.
  • In more severe cases of dementia, “wala na” (meaning gone) or “tapos na” (meaning the person’s mind is done or finished) may be used.

Tips

  • The amount of understanding and acceptance of dementia may vary significantly among different cultures, families and individuals. Determine the understanding of dementia of the care recipient and their family, if they accept dementia and if stigma is associated.
  • Provide information to the care recipient and their family according to their language preference and literacy level.
  • Ensure that people with dementia and their families are aware of dementia information and of support services available.

Dementia resources

  • A wide range of information is available in the Attitudes and understanding of dementia disability and illness, resources section below.
  • Contact details for Alzheimer’s Australia offices are available in the “Links, Alzheimer’s Australia offices” section of this app.

Advice and Support

  • Seek advice and support from the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) if required – phone 1800 699 799.

Resources

Generalist

  • The Filipino expectation to care for their family members means that care at residential facilities have traditionally been a foreign concept.
  • This expectation is however slowly changing.
  • The terms “residential care” and “nursing home” may be considered offensive to Filipino people.
  • Services with Filipino residents and/or Filipino staff are usually preferred.

Tips

  • The Filipino expectation to care for their family members means that care at residential facilities have traditionally been a foreign concept.
  • This expectation is however slowly changing.
  • The terms “residential care” and “nursing home” may be considered offensive to Filipino people.
  • Services with Filipino residents and/or Filipino staff are usually preferred.

Resources

Generalist

  • It is not customary for Filipinos to disclose sadness or pain.
  • Many Filipinos hold the attitude of ‘bahala na’ (which translates to ‘it is in the hands of God’), in respect to illness and pain.
  • Some may believe illness and pain are a ‘punishment’.
  • People with Buddhist beliefs often hold values about self-conduct and therefore they may embody stoicism in the face of pain.
  • Asian cultures often observe status differences based on factors including; age, sex, education, and occupation. They may therefore keep quiet about their pain or discomfort so as not to bother a person they see as having a ‘high status’ such as a doctor or nurse.
  • Filipino people may use a combination of western and herbal medicines and religious healing practices.
  • Pain behaviour studies suggest there is a need to be cautious of ethnic or cultural stereotypes. Therefore, even though there are findings of general cultural differences it is considered very important to evaluate the pain of each person individually.
  • Clinical recommendations regarding pain treatment are available in the “Attitudes to pain Resources” section of this app.

Tips

  • Research indicates that pain and discomfort are frequently under reported and under treated amongst people with dementia.
  • Ensure care recipients and their family understand pain relief medication and treatment options by providing information in their preferred language and in accordance with their language ability.
  • Religion and culture may influence your care recipients pain experience including; their pain expression, pain language, remedies for pain, social roles and expectations and perceptions of the medical care system.
  • Understand that for some religious or spiritual beliefs, fate and/or karma may mean that your care recipient also believes their illness and pain are caused by a higher power.
  • Care recipients may feel it is important to accept their pain in order to demonstrate their religious / spiritual faith. This may also impact their request for pain medication and treatment.
  • Identify and support the cultural and religious impact on the acceptability of certain treatments and medications.
  • Identify, respect and document how your care recipient and their family view and express pain.
  • Pay particular attention to verbal expressions of pain during later stages of dementia and ensure adequate treatment is provided.

Resources

Generalist

  • Filipino funeral and burial practices include a range of personal beliefs, cultural beliefs and traditional beliefs and practices to honour and remember their deceased loved ones.
  • Many Filipinos believe in the afterlife and the importance of respecting the deceased.
  • Wakes in provincial areas in the Philippines generally take place between three to seven days and are usually held in the home.
  • Wakes held in city areas in the Philippines often take place in funeral homes.
  • The majority of Filipinos are Christian, however many have superstitious beliefs surrounding death.

Tips

  • Understand that attitudes to end of life care, death and dying are diverse and may include a range of factors such as cultural and religious beliefs.
  • Be aware that the acceptance of certain treatments and medications are likely to be impacted upon by cultural and religious factors.
  • Identify and support “end of life choices” of care recipients and their family. Note: these are formally known as “Advanced Care Directives” or “Advanced Care Planning” depending on the state or territory in Australia that you are in. Ensure their choices are documented and strictly followed.
  • Ensure the linguistic needs of care recipients are addressed in end of life religious and spiritual support.
  • Ensure family members have access to appropriate resources and support in their preferred language and in accordance with their language ability.

Resources

Generalist

  • Many people consider burping bad manners, but Filipinos do not consider it offensive to “burp” and some Filipinos say “thank you” after they burp.
  • Being called “fat” is very offensive in many cultures, however, in Filipino culture, it is not considered as bad manners or as being insulting, instead it is in fact considered a compliment.

Taboos

  • Pointing or waving a finger at someone.
  • Using a curled finger to beckon someone.
  • Placing feet on furniture.
  • Loud voices
  • Rude behaviour

Topics of conversation that are considered taboo

  • Politics
  • Religion
  • International issues such as corruption, terrorism and drug trafficking – despite media coverage
  • Foreign aid and related policies
  • Topics that may lead to embarrassment or lead to “loss of face”.

Tips

  • “Manners” and “taboo” expectations and beliefs may vary greatly among cultures resulting in differing emotions and behaviours in your care recipient.
  • Be aware of your own beliefs and expectations of “manners” and “taboo” beliefs and how these may differ to those of your care recipient.
  • Be aware of judging other people's behaviour, expectations and beliefs according to the standards of your own culture.
  • Be aware that the care recipient may judge your behaviour according to the standard of their own culture.
  • It is important to recognise, accept and document individual interpretations of “manners” and “taboo” expectations and beliefs of your care recipient and their family.

Resources

Generalist

  • Many Filipino believe that prior to moving house, one should bring salt, rice, water and a religious image.
  • It is considered bad luck to sit on a pillow because it can prolong recovery from an illness.
  • A picture of a person falling from the wall is thought to be an omen of the death of the person featured in the picture.
  • There are also Filipino superstitions surrounding the sudden appearances of certain animals, especially black animals. For example; a black butterfly lingering around a person is thought to be a sign that their next of kin has died.

Tips

  • Superstitions may be considered as old wives’ tales, family traditions or have a significant meaning and be taken seriously.
  • Be aware of your own beliefs and how these may differ to those of your care recipient.
  • Be aware of judging other people's superstitious beliefs according to the standards of your own culture.
  • Be aware that the care recipient may judge your beliefs according to the standard of their own culture.
  • It is important to recognise, accept and document individual interpretations of superstitious beliefs.

Resources

Generalist

  • Hospitality and reciprocity are a large part of the Filipino culture, especially when it comes to food.
  • Food is a key part of Filipino gatherings. The belief of sharing food is linked with harmony and caring and from experiences of poverty and the importance of generosity and reciprocity in return in times of need.
  • Filipinos generally prefer to use spoons and forks rather than chopsticks. Another form sometimes used is eating by hand, also known as ‘Kamayan’.
  • They often use a buffet style of serving where individuals can help themselves (known as ‘kanya-kanyang kuha’). This way people are able to avoid insulting the cook if they do not like a particular dish.
  • The amount of animal protein used in dishes (such as red meat, poultry or seafood) generally depends on the economic status of the family.
  • All parts of the animals are usually used in Filipino cooking including; skin, blood and organs.
  • Some basic principles of Filipino cooking include; never cook food by itself, fry with garlic in olive oil or lard, and food should have a sour, cool, salty taste.
  • Palm vinegar or a vegetable paste (made from tamarind or kamis) is added to foods to give it the sour-cool taste.
  • Food is often fried in a wok known as a ‘kawali,’although traditionally clay pots were used.
  • Fermented fish paste or sauce is often used as a seasoning instead of salt.
  • Filipino food is distinctive and has influences of Malaysian, Polynesian, Spanish, and Chinese cuisines.

Food

  • Traditional Filipino food is generally colourful, served with rice or noodles, and includes a variety of soups, various types of meat, vegetable and fish dishes.
  •  A very popular dish in the Philippines is ‘adobo’. It is a dish that includes a raw food being marinated in a stock mixture of vinegar, soy sauce and garlic and cooked like a stew, although the ingredients vary in different regions of the Philippines. This dish is often eaten with steamed rice.
  • A traditional Filipino dish is ‘kinilaw’. This is a process and style of cooking that uses acid to marinate and pickle raw foods such as meat, seafood, fruit and vegetables.
  • Lime and chili flavoured vinegar are common accompaniments on the table for people to add to their food.
  • Rice flour is often used to make noodles and bread. Noodles are also sometimes made from mung beans or wheat, and they are often cooked with meat or seafood in a soy and garlic sauce.
  • Coconut is a common ingredient in Filipino cooking and drinks.
  • Popular desserts in the Philippines include; leche flan (a caramel custard) and cassava cake to name a few.

Dining Etiquette

  • Dress well as appearances matter.
  • Give compliments to the hostess on their house.
  • It is best to be asked several times before going to the dining room rather
  • Wait to be directed where to sit.
  • Wait until invited to begin the meal.
  • Typically meals are served buffet style where people serve themselves.
  • A spoon and fork are the usual utensils. Forks are generally held in the left hand and used to move food across to the spoon that is held in the right hand.
  • It is important to accept food when offered, as refusing food is considered a sign of rejection and dislike for the person offering the food.

Tips

  • Food is an important aspect of cultural identity, therefore it is important to identify food preferences, likes and dislikes including eating habits, meal times, preferred setting, preferred eating utensils etc.
  • Identify and facilitate cultural food when possible and ensure the impact of religion on food services is documented, adhered to and regularly reviewed.
  • Provide menu choices and food services information in the preferred language of care recipients, or with pictures if the person has difficulty reading. 
  • Consider alternative ways to facilitate culturally appropriate food such as; obtaining recipes from family/friends, specific meal delivery services, community groups, seniors’ clubs, or and/or other clubs.
  • Ensure that the care recipient is given food choices throughout all stages of dementia.

Food and diet resources

  • A wide range of information (including religious food requirements, nutrition information and recipes) is available in the “Food and diet resources” section below.

Advice and Support

  • Seek advice and support from the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) if required – phone 1800 699 799

 

Resources

Generalist

  • A person-centred care approach helps organisations provide accessible, responsive and flexible services that meet the diverse needs and preferences of people living with dementia in our community. 
  • Many people with dementia want to remain independent for as long as possible and rely on the community care system to help them achieve this.
  • There is a ‘care concept’ amongst Filipinos that includes three aspects: the role of behaviour contributing to harmony, respect (for elders and authority) and the importance of generosity and reciprocity.

Health Beliefs and Practices

  • Traditionally, Filipinos attribute health issues and accidents to outside factors such as overwork, anxiety, ‘punishment’ from God, or even curses.
  • Home remedies as well as prayer and faith healing may be undertaken as well as modern medicine. Devotion to Saints and religious practices may be considered very important.

Personal care

  • Filipino service providers are usually preferred due to their cultural knowledge, experiences and understanding.
  • Filipino seniors may refuse assistance with bathing, dressing and maintaining hygiene as they much prefer family to assist.
  • Some Filipino people may believe that bathing can drain the strength from the body, especially from those that are unwell.
  • A ‘tabò’ is commonly used in toilets in the Philippines. It is a plastic container filled with water and a smaller container that is used to wash and clean oneself instead of using toilet paper. Some Filipinos believe toilet paper is inadequate or even ‘dirty’ in comparison.

Tips

  • Identify and document the care needs of your care recipient and continuously re-evaluate how their dementia progression affects their care needs.
  • Make every effort to understand a dementia behaviour before attempting to manage it, as you will often discover that what lies behind it is a genuine attempt to communicate an unmet need.  

Care information resources

  • A wide range of information is available (e.g. personal hygiene, sleeping, incontinence etc.) in the “Care information, resources” below.

Advice and Support

  • Seek advice and support from the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) if required – phone 1800 699 799.

Employee/employer resources

  •  A range of information is available under “Links – Other useful weblinks”.

Resources

Generalist

Concept of ‘shame’

  • Shame, or ‘hiya’, influences behaviour in Filipino culture.
  • If one does not behave within the accepted standards they can bring shame upon themselves and their family.
  • Public embarrassment, criticism, or not meeting expectations, can cause shame and a loss of self-esteem.
  • Shame can lead to a Filipino being reluctant to seek any assistance outside of their family, due to the fear that it may be perceived as not coping, or not meeting the traditional family standards and expectations.
  • Filipino people often go to great lengths to deny that they have a problem from those external to the family and the Filipino community.

Tips

  • Everyone has “culture”. This includes a number of factors such as ethnicity, identity, age, gender, education, sexual orientation, ability/disability, values, beliefs, attitudes etc.
  • Recognise your own cultural traits and influences and be mindful not to judge other people’s behaviour and beliefs according to the standard of your own culture.
  • Be aware that your care recipient may judge your behaviour and beliefs according to the standard of their own culture.
  • Your care recipient may be “similar to others” but “no two people are the same” so take care not to generalise or make assumptions about them. Gain general cultural information from resources to assist with conversations to allow you to identify your care recipient’s individual cultural traits.
  • Understand and document how your care recipient’s individual cultural traits impact their care needs.
  • Increase your knowledge about different cultural practices and issues through resources, cultural background information sessions and/or cultural awareness training.

Cultural Traits resources

  • Find information (such as guides and cultural profiles created by other organisations) in the “Cultural Traits, resources” section below.
  • You will also find information including; links to community contacts, cultural profiles, useful weblinks etc. in the “Links” section of the app.

Resources

Generalist

  • Filipinos celebrate Easter and Holy week (Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday) with great devotion.
  • Activities that take place during Holy Week, particularly Holy Thursday, include; passion plays, crucifixion re-enactments, chanting of Christ’s passion, and pilgrimages.
  • Good Friday and Black Saturday (Easter Saturday) are national holidays in the Philippines.
  • Filipinos that are Catholic begin Easter celebrations by attending the Easter Vigil. This includes Bible readings and hymns and serves to welcome the Day of Resurrection.
  • Salubong (which means ‘reception’ or ‘welcome’) is a Catholic ritual that precedes the Easter dawn mass. The statue of the Risen Christ and the statue of the Sorrowful Mother Mary are brought to the front of the church. A little girl from the community takes the roll of an ‘angel’ and is hoisted up to lift the veil from Mary’s head before Alleluia is sung. After Salubong, the day is joyful and festive.
  • Many Filipinos take part in Lent, and will break their fast after the dawn service.
  • Easter eggs and are considered as symbols of new life that are connected to the Resurrection.
  • More recently, the Easter Bunny features in Easter celebrations with Easter egg hunts held as part of many church programs.

Tips

  • Understand the importance of Easter to your care recipient and accept and respect that customs and beliefs about Easter are different from culture to culture.
  • Identify, document and support any spiritual/religious needs of your care recipients.
  • Identify, document and facilitate any dietary requirements.

Resources

Generalist

  • Christmas is celebrated by Filipinos. Formal celebrations begin on the 16th December and continue until the 25th December, with a pre-dawn mass held each morning.
  • Christmas is considered the most important holiday in the Philippines.
  • Customs are inclusive of both western and native Filipino traditions.
  • Western traditions include Santa Claus and Christmas trees.
  •  The ‘parol’ is the most popular Filipino decoration representing the star that guided the three wise men. This is a bamboo pole/frame with a lit star lantern and it is usually made from coloured Japanese paper or cellophane paper and bamboo strips.
  • After Christmas Eve mass (or ‘simbang gabi’) a midnight feast known as Noche Buena takes place. This is a big open house festivity. Many Filipinos stay awake all night and continue to celebrate into Christmas day.
  • Happy/Merry Christmas in Tagalog is ‘Maligayang Pasko’.

Tips

  • Understand the importance of Christmas to your care recipient and accept and respect that customs and beliefs about Christmas are different from culture to culture.
  • Identify, document and support any spiritual/religious needs of your care recipients.
  • Identify, document and facilitate any dietary requirements.

Resources

Generalist

  • New Year is celebrated by Filipinos on the evening of 31st December through to 1st January.
  • New Year is a public holiday in the Philippines.
  • Celebrations include fireworks and plenty of noise.
  • A midnight meal with the family is known as ‘Media Noche’. This symbolises family union and celebration. It is tradition that twelve different kinds of round fruit are served. The fruit represents each month of the year.

Traditions to bring luck

  • There is usually abundant food in round shapes to represent money and good luck.
  • There is a belief amongst some Filipino people that noise and smoke drives away ‘evil spirits’ and helps to ensure a good year ahead.
  • Filipino people often wear clothes with polka-dots in belief that this will bring about a prosperous New Year.
  • People usually make sure they have money in their wallets and pockets, as this is believed to ensure they will be money for the rest of the year.
  • Doors and windows are opened and lights are put on to invite good luck into the home.

Tips

  • Understand the importance of New Year to your care recipient and accept and respect that customs and beliefs about New Year are different from culture to culture.
  • Identify, document and support any spiritual/religious needs of your care recipients.
  • Identify, document and facilitate any dietary requirements.

Resources

Generalist

The following dates may be considered as ‘special days’ by Filipinos:

  • 3rd Sunday of January - Ati-Atihan
  • A feast is held to honour of the Santo Niño (Child Jesus) in the town of Kalibo. It is considered one of the biggest festivals in all of the Philippines.
  • 3rd Sunday of January – Sinulog
  • A month long grand festival to celebrate the Santo Niño.
  • 4th Sunday of January - Dinagyang
  • A cultural and religious festival held to honour the Santo Niño and to celebrate the arrival of Malay settlers on Panay.
  • Holy Monday to Easter Sunday - Moriones Holy Week
  • Annual festival held during Holy Week of Easter on the Marinduque island.
  • 15th May – Pahiyas
  • A celebration of thanksgiving for good harvest. It is held in Lucban a province of Southern Luzon.
  • 17th-19th of May – Santa Clara
  • This festival includes the Obando Fertility Rite and Filipino dance ritual. People wear traditional dance costumes and dance on the streets in a religious procession. The fertility dance includes people asking the patron saints for a son or daughter or a husband or wife or good fortune.
  • 12th June – Independence Day (Araw ng kalayaan)
  • A day to commemorate independence from Spain.
  • 3rd weekend in September - Penafrancia Fluvial
  • The Peñafrancia Festival takes place in Naga City, Camarines Sur, Bicol Region. People attend church services and there are street parades, fireworks and feasts.
  • 1st and 2nd November – All Saints Day (Araw ng mga santo) and All Souls Day (Araw ng mga Kaluluwa)
  • The week before people tend to the graves of their deceased relatives. During the two day event people honour their loved ones that have passed with flowers, wreaths, candles and prayers.

Tips

  • Understand the importance of any significant days to your care recipient and accept and respect that customs and beliefs about special days are different from culture to culture.
  • Identify, document and support any spiritual/religious needs of your care recipients.
  • Identify, document and facilitate any dietary requirements.

Resources

Generalist

Activities which may be popular with older Filipino people include;

  • group singing and karaoke,
  • cooking and sharing meals together,
  • dancing (such as ballroom, cha-cha and line dancing)
  • low impact exercise,
  • water exercise (particularly by younger members),
  • games such as dominos,
  • cards,
  • “Sungka” (a traditional table top game which includes sea shells and a handcrafted wooden ships with sunken round holes).
  •  “Mahjong” (a game played using tiles).

Reminiscence   

  • Smell or taste - Using smell kits, different cultural foods. Suggestions include; garlic, annatto seed, ginger, lemongrass, bay leaves and chilli peppers
  • Sight - cultural photographs, slides, films, painting pictures, looking at objects. (Refer to the “Cultural activities resources” section for some visual ideas).    
  • Touch - Touching cultural objects, feeling textures, painting and pottery. Pampering, massage hands, etc. if it is considered culturally appropriate by the care recipient and they trust you to do this without being intrusive  
  • Sound - Personalised playlists, listening to familiar tunes from the radio, C.D's, YouTube, listening to cultural performances, or making music using various instruments. (Refer to the “Music resources” section for some music ideas).

Tips

  • It is important to understand your care recipient’s activity likes and dislikes and their personal history to plan appropriate activities for them.
  • Your care recipient should be provided with a choice of activities to participate in.
  • Participating in suitable activities can help a person with dementia to achieve purpose and pleasure, help to improve their mood, responses, memory function, increase social interaction, sleep, improve verbal and non-verbal communication and restore a sense of identity. Activities also play a significant part in dealing with challenging behaviours.
  • It is important that activities are suitable to the level of ability of the person with dementia. People with dementia should be encouraged to participate as independently as possible and be given the choice to participate or to watch others.
  •  Always talk to the person’s doctor before starting them on a new exercise program and ensure the program designed for them takes into account their current health and ability.
  • Alzheimer’s Australia SA, local council libraries or community organisations may be able to loan suitable cultural activities such as music, games, videos etc.

Cultural activity resources

  • For cultural activity information and ideas refer to the “Cultural activities, resources” section below.
  • For local community contact details refer to the “Links, Community Contacts” section of this app.

Resources

Generalist

  • Filipino music is a mix of sounds originating from Europe and America as well as indigenous sounds.
  • In particular, there has been an influence of folk music from Spain and influences of western rock and roll, hip-hop and pop from the United States.
  • Popular traditional folk music includes; Bahay Kubo, Paroparong Bukid, Magtanim ay Di Biro and many others.

Tips

  • Music is the most powerful universal language.
  • Music provides an external rhythm and can restore a person back to themselves, and to others, at least for a while.
  • People tend to remain contactable as musical beings on some level right up to the very end of life.
  • It is important to understand your care recipient’s music likes and dislikes and to provide them with their choice of music to listen to.
  • Create a personalised music playlist for your care recipient for their maximum benefit and enjoyment.
  • Provide opportunities for the person with dementia to watch live music performances.
  • Providing music a person relates to can have a wide range of benefits to the care recipient. Benefits may include; helping to improve their mood, responses, memory function, increase social interaction, improve verbal and non-verbal communication and restore a sense of identity.

Resources