+ 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

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Generalist

  • Germany is located in the continent of Europe.
  • Berlin is the capital city of Germany.
  • Germany shares land borders with 9 other countries including; Poland, Czech Republic, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Netherlands.
  • Germany is ranked the 63rd largest country with a total area of 357,022 square kilometres (Central Intelligence Agency, n.d).
  • The population of Germany is approximately 80,854,408 (Central Intelligence Agency, 2015).
  • The major ethnic groups of Germany include: German 91.5%, Turkish 2.4%, other 6.1% (including Greek, Italian, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, and Spanish) kilometres (Central Intelligence Agency, n.d).
  • The climate of Germany is varied, but is mostly moderate temperature with no long periods of hot or cold weather. Summer temperatures are warm and may range between 20-30 degrees. Winter temperatures vary from around freezing temperature in the west to below freezing in the east.

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 to Australia

  • Early settlement of Germans was mainly in South Australia and South-Eastern Queensland.
  • There was significant migration during the gold rush in Victoria in the 1850s when approximately 10,000 German migrants came to work the in the gold fields.
  • Germans were also employed in many other roles including; in copper mines and smelters, silversmithing, winemaking and in weaving woolen cloth.
  • There were over 100,000 Germans living in Australia by 1914 and they were a well-established and liked community group.
  • The World Wars heavily impacted German migration to Australia.
  • At the beginning of the First World War Australian residents who were citizens of Germany, (as well as those from Italy, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey) were declared as ‘enemy aliens’.
  • As well as suffering suspicion and aggression, Germans and other ‘enemy aliens’ were also at risk of job restrictions or sacking, police surveillance as well as the risk of being detained in Australian internment camps.
  • In 1915 German males that were old enough to join the army were put into German concentration camps across the continent and women and children were detained by the British in Asia.
  •  At the end of the First World War hundreds of Germans were deported from Australia and German migration stopped until 1925.
  • Community attitudes in Australia hardened against immigrants during the Depression, mainly due to the fear of Australians losing their jobs. Many immigrants were made to feel unwelcome.
  • The enormous contributions made by Germans, were ignored or forgotten during the wars, and Germans lost their vote, Lutheran schools and churches were closed, German music was banned, food was renamed, places with German names were changed to British names and people were interned for having German background.
  • Many German families anglicised or changed the spelling of their name.
  • Following World War II, Australian post-war migration programs were implemented which resulted in an increase of Germans migrating to Australia. (Australian Government, 2015).
  • The estimated population of German-born in Australia in June 2015 was 125,900 (Australian Bureau of Statistics).
  • The German-speaking community support each other through formal and informal groups and through professional contacts. German clubs and societies have existed since the beginning of European settlement and some continue today.

History of Germany

  • Refer to History Resources section

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

  • Germany is defined as an individualist culture.
  • This means Germany is a society where the preference is for people to look after themselves and their immediate family.
  • Germany scores 67 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.
  • In “individualist” cultures, employees are expected to be self-reliant and show initiative.

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 Germany

  • The major religious affiliations in Germany include: Protestant 34%, Roman Catholic 34%, Muslim 3.7%. There is also a considerable proportion of the population that either have no religious affiliation or another religion than those listed above 28.3% (Central Intelligence Agency, 2016).

In Australia

  • German-born people in Australia are predominately Catholic and Lutheran. (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

  • Priority to the immediate family is most common amongst German people.
  • German families tend to be small.

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 German are available in the “Language and communication, resources” section of this app.

Resources

Generalist

In Australia

  • At home, the main languages spoken by German-born people in Australia are English, German and Polish. (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011).

In Germany

  • German is the official language in Germany.
  • For the majority of the German population (95%), German is their first language. (BBC - Languages across Europe, 2015)
  • Other languages spoken in Germany include; Sorbian (spoken by 0.09% in the east of Germany), Frisian (spoken by 0.01% around the Rhine), Danish (spoken by 0.06% along the Danish border) and Romini and Indigenous language spoken by 0.08%. (BBC - Languages across Europe, 2015)

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 by Germans are usually formal and it is considered a sign of respect to use titles.
  • A person’s full title should be used unless otherwise instructed.
  • In Germany, a male is referred to as ‘Herr’ and a female as ‘Frau’ followed the person’s title and their surname.

Man greeting Man

  • A firm handshake is the norm in formal situations for meeting someone for the first time.
  • Friends generally meet with a simple verbal greeting.

Woman greeting Woman

  • Women usually shake hands in formal situations.
  • Good friends and family may kiss on one or both cheeks.

Man greeting Woman

  • A handshake is the norm for more formal situations or meetings someone for the first time.
  • Good friends and family may give a light hug or a kiss on both cheeks.

Meeting with groups of people

Taking time to shake hands with each individual in the group is appreciated when both arriving and departing

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

  • The communication style of Germans tends to be open, direct and polite.
  • Honesty is generally expected and appreciated.
  • Some German people speak loudly and use a great amount of emotion when speaking. This should not be confused as a sign of anger.

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

  • Germans consider direct eye contact to be a sign of respect and interest during conversation.          
  • Whilst it is polite to look at others during conversation, staring should be avoided.

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

  • When gesturing for someone to come closer, the use of a flat palm flat and a scratching motion with each of your fingers is usually used.
  • Waving the hand side to side with the palm up generally indicates ‘no.’
  • Many Germans consider it rude to make a circular motion with the index finger whilst pointing to the side of one’s head as this gesture indicates to them that someone is crazy.
  • Germans may gently knock their knuckles on the tabletop instead of applauding.

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

  • Personal space is considered important.
  • Generally, German people are comfortable standing about an arms-length of space away from each other when conversing.
  • Personal space between people is usually only closer if an intimate conversation is being held.
  • Germans do not usually touch during conversation. Touch from someone outside the family or close circle of friends may be considered as an invasion of privacy.
  • It is common for family and friends to hug, hold hands and walk arm in arm.

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

  • Germans are extremely punctual.
  • Germans may arrive early, especially for important appointments or meetings.
  • It is considered extremely rude to arrive late for appointments or when meeting people.
  • It is also considered bad manners to cancel at the last minute.
  • If a person is unable to meet someone on time, it is generally expected that they should telephone the person they arranged to meet with and provide an explanation as to why they are late.

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

  • Germany was ranked 13th on a global index measuring gender equality out of 144 countries. (World Economic Forum, Global Gender Gap Report 2016).

Marriage

  • The law in Germany states that free and full consent is required by each person entering marriage.
  • Women and men have equal rights in marriage.
  • Both spouses are equally entitled to initiate divorce in Germany.

Same Sex Relationships

  • Germany was ranked 16th with a score of 55.14% on the Rainbow Europe Country Ranking. On this scale, 0% represents gross violations of human rights and discrimination and 100% represents respect of human rights and full equality. (Rainbow Europe)
  • Registered partnerships for same-sex couples is legal in Germany.

Inheritance

  • Men and women have equal rights to inheritance in Germany.

Employment

  • An old traditional German phrase, considered the role of women to belong to ‘children, the kitchen, and church’. Over the years, the role of women has changed.
  • Discrimination against employees is prohibited in Germany. However, men are generally paid more than women.

Housework

  • Household chores are generally shared between German men and women, although it is common for tasks to be divided along gender lines and for women to do the majority of the housework.

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, to make a difference for people with dementia and their families and carers worldwide.

Dementia in Germany

  • The (2015) World Alzheimer’s report estimates that 1.6 million people are living with Dementia in Germany (Alzheimer’s Disease International, 2015).

Attitudes to Dementia

  • Studies suggest that German people are open to early diagnosis of dementia, however greater awareness about dementia, preventative options available and their effectiveness is needed.

Attitudes to Disability and Mental Illness

  • Australians of German background tend to have similar attitudes to mental illness as Anglo-Australians. Specifically, whilst there may be some stigma attached to mental illness, German-born Australians are generally accepting of people with mental illness.

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

  • Independence is highly valued, therefore German people prefer to live in their own homes as long as possible.
  • Germans would generally rather pay for community services or depend on family support than live in residential care.

Tips

  • The meaning or value of residential or community care may vary greatly among cultures.
  • Be aware that many people will not want to hear about or talk about residential care until crisis point.
  • Understand that families and friends from different cultures will have different expectations for the care of people, particularly in regards to toileting, dressing, feeding and other self-help skills.
  • Allow the care recipient and their family to make choices to suit the individual’s care needs.
  • Ask care recipients questions about what can be done to achieve quality of life and help them have meaningful lives that enable them to pursue their cultural interests and passions in accordance with any frailty, disability or cognitive impairment.
  • Understand and facilitate all achievable care expectations of the care recipient and their family.

Resources

Generalist

  • Germans do not have any specific coping mechanisms, apart from generally not wishing to complain.
  • 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

  • The attitudes of German people towards grieving and death do not differ much from mainstream Anglo Anglo-Celtic traditions.
  • Those with religious beliefs have attitudes shaped by the religion they practice.
  • A sound understanding of the dying patient’s meaning of end of life care is imperative to truly deliver individualised palliative care.

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

  • For Germans, "Gemuetlichkeit"- a nice and comfortable home is highly valued and cleanliness and tidiness are valued. Many Germans consider that a person should remove their shoes before entering a home.
  • It is considered impolite to not shake hands when introduced to someone.
  • Leaving without saying goodbye is considered rude.

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

Common superstitions believed by some Germans include;

  • Avoid saying ‘happy birthday’ before the actual date. It is back luck to do so because birthdays are believed to be sacred.
  • The gift of knives or scissors is bad luck and considered as a wish for death or injury for the receiver’s household.

Good luck charms

  • The four leaf clover is a lucky charm with Christian origin.
  • The lady bug is another lucky charm with Christian origin associated with the Virgin Mary.
  • Pigs were associated with wealth and prosperity in the Middle Ages and are still considered lucky by many.
  • Chimney sweeps are associated with luck due to a clear flue reducing the risk of a house fire and allowing food to be cooked.

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

  • Many German people enjoy rich, hearty cuisine.
  • Traditional meals vary in each area of Germany. ‘Spätzle’ (a type of pasta) is popular in the southwest. Dumplings or ‘Knödel’ are a specialty of Bavaria. ‘Labskaus’ a dish made with boiled potatoes, pickles and corned beef, is popular in the north.
  • A traditional German breakfast may include; bread/toast with spreads such as marmalade and honey, cold meats (such as ham and salami) and cheeses. This is accompanied with a strong cup of coffee or a pot of tea.
  • The midday meal was traditionally the main meal of the day. Eating habits have changed over time and the warm main meal is now generally eaten in the evening.
  • Traditionally dinner in Germany, known as ‘Abendbrot’ which means ‘evening bread’, would consist of a range of bread, deli meats and sausages and cheese.
  • Popular main meal dishes include pork, beef and poultry.
  • There is a wide variety of fruit and vegetables throughout Germany and side dishes such as noodles, potatoes and dumplings made in a variety of ways are common.
  • Popular desserts in Germany include apple strudel (Apfelstrudel) and black forest cake (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte).
  • Beer is the alcoholic beverage of choice. The country is also renowned for producing different beer varieties.

Dining etiquette

  • Always arrive on time (not early) if invited to a German’s house. Ring ahead and offer an explanation if late arrival is anticipated.
  • A handwritten note thanking the host for their hospitality is considered polite.

Table manners

  • Wait until invited to be seated.
  • Hold the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right.
  • Wait until the host invites to begin the meal or someone says 'guten appetit' (good appetite).
  • It is considered rude to rest your elbows on the table.
  • It is considered appropriate to break rolls apart by hand.
  • It is appreciated if guests finish all the food on their plate.
  • To signal that you have finished your meal, place the knife and fork parallel across the right side of the plate, with the fork over the knife.
  • The host usually gives the first toast, and then usually the guest will return the toast later in the meal. For example, a common toast with wine is ‘Zum Wohl’ which means ‘good health’. A common toast with beer is ‘Prost’ meaning ‘good health’.

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.

Additional care considerations for German people

  • Residential care facilities are avoided whenever possible.
  • Western medicine is predominantly used and alternative therapies such as homeopathy or naturopathy may also be used.
  • German people may be reluctant to complain, and as a result medical conditions may go undiagnosed.

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

  • Germans are known for punctuality.
  • German people tend to be hardworking, efficient and disciplined.
  • Germans like to keep everything clean and tidy.
  • Structure and traditions are generally very important for Germans.
  • Privacy is valued, both at home and work.

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

  • Easter is celebrated by Germans.
  • Easter falls on the Sunday after the ecclesiastical Full Moon that falls on or after March 21. Easter is therefore observed between late March and late April and can extend to early May in the Eastern Christian churches.
  • For Christians, Easter is a time to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • In Germany, Easter marks the beginning of spring.
  • Spring flowers and ‘Easter Trees’ (twigs decorated with colourful eggs) are on display in celebration of the season.
  • The custom of decorating boiled Easter eggs began in Germany. Eggs symbolise new life and the bright colours represent sunlight and growth.
  • The Easter bunny, which represents fertility was first mentioned in German writings of the 16th Century.

Good Friday

  • Good Friday is known as ‘Karfreitag’.
  • Fish is the traditional Good Friday meal for many families.

Easter Saturday

  • Outdoor German markets sell Easter handicrafts, decorations and local arts and crafts.
  • In the north of Germany, it is traditional to hold Easter bonfires. These symbolise chasing away the dark spirits of winter and welcome in the warm season.

Easter Sunday

  • Traditionally on Easter Sunday morning, parents hide coloured hard boiled eggs, sweets (including chocolate Easter bunnies), and other small presents for their children.
  • It is common for families to attend an Easter church service and then share a traditional Easter lunch of lamb, potatoes and fresh vegetables.

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.
  • For Germans, Christmas Eve, 24 December is the main day of celebration.
  • Advent is a key part of Christmas celebrations and several types of advent calendars may be used besides the traditional cardboard Advent calendar.
  • Some advent calendars that are made are decorated with 24 decorated boxes/bags hanging on it with presents inside.
  • An ‘Advent Kranz’ is another type of advent calendar that may be displayed in German homes. This is a ring of branches with four candles on it. One candle is lit each week of the Advent.
  • Christmas celebrations usually take place at home with the family.
  • A big Christmas dinner is shared with the family members on Christmas Eve. Food prepared depends on personal taste, however this meal usually includes meats; such as turkey, pork, beef and duck; fish; roast potatoes; salads and vegetables. This is followed by desserts such as Christmas biscuits and Stollen (Christmas cake).
  • Following the meal, presents are exchanged around a beautifully decorated Christmas tree.
  • In German, Happy/Merry Christmas is 'Frohe Weihnachten'.

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 Germans.
  • Celebrations commence on New Year’s Eve, the 31st December and continue until the 1st of January.
  • New Year is known as ‘Neujahr’ in German.
  • It is a highly anticipated time of year and people take time to plan celebrations for New Year’s Eve.
  • New Year’s Eve is called ‘Sylvester’ in Germany, after the celebrated Saint, who was said to have healed leprosy, baptised ‘Constantine the Great’ and met members of the family of Jesus.
  • To celebrate New Year people come together to eat, drink, sing and dance. These celebrations occur all across Germany in pubs, clubs, restaurants and hotels and they often continue until the next morning.
  • Others may hold private parties at home with their nearest and dearest.
  • Once the clock strikes midnight people exchange hugs and kisses and give each other best wishes. It is common for champagne to be opened and shared as part of the celebration.
  • Fireworks also feature as part of New Year’s celebrations.

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 are significant in Germany:

  • 3rd October - National Day

Celebrations include; speeches, concerts, food and culture presentations, people sharing meals together and firework displays.

  • 1st  November - All Saints Day

On this day Germans of Catholic faith and some Protestants honour the lives of every saint and remember deceased relatives, usually by visiting their graves.

  • 6th December - St Nicholas Day

It is a tradition for children to leave a shoe or a boot by the fireplace. In the evening St Nicholas fills the shoes with treats if the child has been good. If the child has not been good, their shoes will be filled with twigs.

Other special days include:

  • Birthdays
  • Mother's Day
  • Name Days (a day of the year that is associated with a person’s given name)
  • Father's Day

Festivals

There are various festivals held across the different regions in Germany, including large wine festivals and beer festivals such as Oktoberfest.

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

Leisure activities

  • Favourite leisure activities include; sports, gardening, needlework, listening to music, watching TV, playing cards and reading. Crafts in Germany
  • Woodcarving is a traditional activity in Germany, especially in Bavaria.
  • Works of art and souvenirs continue to be produced by craftspeople in Germany, including the famous cuckoo clock.

Reminiscence

  • Smell or taste - Using smell kits, different cultural foods. Suggestions include; flowers, fruit, garlic, dill, chives and vanilla.
  • Sight - Cultural photographs, cookbooks, slides, films, painting pictures, traditional costumes, 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.
  • 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 of this app. For contact details of your local community contacts refer to the “Resources” section of this app.

Resources

Generalist

  • Germany has produced world famous composers including; Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms and Richard Wagner.
  • More recent German composers include; Paul Hindemith, Kurt Weill, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Carl Orff and Hans Werner Henze.

In Germany folk music, ‘Schlager’ (a combination of traditional music with popular entertainment aimed at the older audience), jazz and pop music are also very common.

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