+ 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

  • Ukraine is located in the continent of Europe (specifically, in Eastern Europe).
  • Kyiv is the capital of Ukraine.
  • Ukraine shares borders with; Belarus, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia and Slovakia.
  • Ukraine ranks as the 46th largest country in the world with a total area of 603,550 square kilometres.
  • The population of Ukraine is 44,209,733 (Central Intelligence Agency 2016).
  • The major ethnic groups include; Ukrainian, Crimean Tator, Bulgarian, Belarusian, Hungarian, Jewish, Moldovan, Polish, Romanian and Russian.
  • Ukraine has a temperate continental climate, with mild/warm summers and cold snowy winters.

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

  • In 1860, one of the first Ukrainian-born migrants sailed to Australia and established a sheep farm. He came from the western part of Ukraine as a soldier in the Austrian army, and his name was Mykhailo Hryb.
  • Prior to World War II, approximately 5000 Ukrainian people were believed to come to Australia and work on the Chinese Eastern Railway. Many returned to the Ukraine following the onset of the Russian revolution.
  • In 1948, (after World War II), Ukrainian people from displaced persons camps in Europe arrived in Australia. The majority of Ukrainians came from rural areas, and the remainder were skilled migrants such as; doctors, engineers, lawyers and priests.
  • The Australian Census of 1947 did not list Ukraine as a birthplace, however 14,757 Ukraine-born people were recorded in the 1954 Census.
  • In 1991, when Ukraine gained its independence from the former Soviet Union, migration from Ukraine increased and many Ukrainian-born came to Australia as skilled or family migrants.
  • The 2011 Census indicated approximately 38,000 Ukrainian-born people live in Australia, predominantly in Melbourne and Sydney.

Extra historical considerations

  • Ukraine has a long history of being invaded and occupied. There has been repatriation of many Ukrainians to forced labour camps in Germany and Austria, and eventually as refugees to places like Australia, USA, Canada and UK. Some Ukrainians have therefore lived under various regimes and have been identified under various nationalities such as; Polish, Austro-Hungarian, German and Russian. Because of this, there may be sensitivities if people of Ukrainian origin are identified as other nationalities.
  • Due to war experiences, dispossession, exile, imprisonment and annihilation of families in their homeland, many Ukrainians have a mistrust of government and anything associated with the government.
  • Ukrainians may also not feel comfortable sharing information about themselves, as some were exposed to informants who provided information about people they knew to those in power which led to situations such as; torture, imprisonment, exile or in some instances, death.

History of Ukraine

  • 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

  • Ukraine is defined as a collectivist culture as Ukraine scores 25 on the Individualism versus Collectivism Index (IDV) (Hofstede Centre).
  • This low score means that Ukrainians act within the interests of the group.
  • The index scale ranges from 0-100, with 50 as a mid-level. Low numbers indicate “collectivist” cultures, and high numbers indicate “individualist” cultures.
  • Further examples of their “group attitude” include; that Ukrainian people will often literally say “we the friends” rather than “my friends and I” and their community organisation of “Hromady” which means “community and the church”. The main value of Hromady, is thinking about “we”, not just “I”.

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

  • Most Ukrainians in Australia are Ukrainian Catholic.
  • Religion is a key element of Ukrainian culture.
  • Some Ukrainians may wear crosses, or have other religious symbols, to give them comfort in distress.
  • Ukrainians bless themselves by using three fingers on their right hand, by firstly sweeping to the right shoulder, then to the left, and then down to their heart.
  • Many Ukrainian elderly are very tied to attending mass and receiving communion. If they cannot attend, families may organise for a priest to come to their home.
  • Many elderly also refuse to eat anything before they receive Communion. Therefore, priests visit sick people in hospitals and homes, as do members of individual organisations.
  • Ukrainians celebrate the Julian calendar, which currently means that Easter and Christmas are celebrated at different times than the Gregorian calendar. Christmas is always celebrated on the 6th and 7th of January, whereas Easter varies from being at the same time as the Gregorian calendar to five weeks apart. Special fasting occurs prior to Christmas and prior to Easter (mainly from meat and dairy products).
  • Many Ukrainians celebrate major life events in their church, such as; marriages, christenings (which includes Confirmation), First Holy Communion and funerals.

In Ukraine

  • The major religious affiliations are Ukrainian Orthodox - Kyiv Patriarchate, Orthodox (of no particular jurisdiction), Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), Ukrainian Greek Catholic, and Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox.
  • There is a significant proportion of the Ukrainian population that describe themselves as atheist.
  • There are also growing numbers of Jews, Protestants and Muslims.

In Australia

  • Ukrainian-born Australians are predominantly Eastern Orthodox, Jewish and Catholic (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011). A smaller proportion of the Ukrainian-born population (17.2%) report that they do not have a religion.

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 the norm amongst Ukrainians.
  • Family is important to Ukrainians and small nuclear families that include parents and children are most common.
  • Men are usually the head of the family.
  • Grandparents often play a role in maintaining language, culture and religion.

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

Resources

Generalist

In Australia

  • The main language spoken by Ukrainian-born Australians at home are; Ukrainian, Russian, or English.
  • Amongst the Ukrainian-born who spoke a language other than English at home, 76.1% spoke English very well or well, whilst 22.3% spoke English well or not at all (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011).

In Ukraine

  • Ukrainian is the official language in Ukraine.
  • Other languages spoken in the Ukraine include; Russian, as well as Romanian, Polish and Hungarian.

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

  • The most common form of greeting in Ukrainian language is ‘dobrij den’ (good day) or ‘dobrij vechir’ (good evening).
  • New arrivals from Ukraine tend to abbreviate these with responses just of ‘Dobrij’.
  • Greetings are usually warm, with a firm handshake and names repeated.
  • Eye contact is typically maintained during greetings.
  • A pat on the back may also be used as a form of greeting.
  • It is not considered appropriate to shake hands with gloves on.

Men greeting Men

  • A right-handed firm handshake is typically used.

Women greeting Women

  • Three kisses on the cheek is the norm for women who know each other. This usually starts on the left cheek and then alternates.

Men greeting Women

  • A handshake may take place in formal meetings, however a single kiss on the cheek may be used between friends and acquaintances.
  • A nod of acknowledgement is also popular.

Ukrainian naming conventions

  • A Ukrainian person’s first name is their given name, and their last name is their family/surname.
  • The middle name is the father’s first name which has either “vich” or “ovich” added in the case of the son; or “avna,” “ovna” or “ivna” in the case of a daughter. This is known as the patronymic name.
  • A person’s full name is generally used in formal situations, however Ukrainians may be referred to by their first name and patronymic name by their friends and close acquaintances.

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

  • A communication style that is direct and delivered in a sensitive manner is appreciated in Ukraine.
  • The amount of directness used is often determined by the level of the relationship. People with a good relationship are often comfortable to be quite frank with one another.
  • However, sometimes, Ukrainians may not mean “no” when they say “no” and they may assume the same applies when other people say “no”. For example; if offered food, a Ukrainian may refuse with an expectation that it will be offered several times again.
  • Ukrainian people may also be indirect when confronted with a difficult situation or an uncomfortable topic.
  • It is common for Ukrainians to use their hands whilst speaking.

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

  • For Ukrainians, direct eye contact is the norm and is expected.
  • Staring should be avoided, as this is generally considered to be rude.
  • Avoiding eye contact during conversation can create suspicion.

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

Appropriate non-verbal communication gestures include:

  • Firm handshake
  • Eye contact
  • Hug
  • Kiss on the cheek
  • Pat on the back
  • Hand gestures whilst in conversation

Gestures considered unacceptable

  • Hands in pockets
  • A fist with the thumb between the middle and index fingers
  • Index finger tapping the forehead
  • The “ok” sign (index finger and thumb joined to make a circle) - this is considered an offensive gesture
  • To place your ankle on your other knee when seated
  • Moving past other people that are seated with your back facing them.

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

  • Ukrainian people may stand relatively near each other during conversations (often less than an arm’s length).
  • Although hand gestures are fairly common during communication, touching is usually limited, unless the person is very familiar, such as a family member or a close friend.

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

  • Ukrainians are generally not punctual. Instead, they tend to practice flexibility with time. 
  • The elderly, however, may be anxious about keeping their appointment times and therefore may arrive much earlier.  

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

  • Ukraine was ranked 69th with a score of 0.7 (where 1= parity and 0.00= imparity) on a global index measuring gender equality out of 144 countries (World Economic Forum, Global Gender Gap Report 2016).

Employment

  • Gender equality laws are in place in Ukraine, although there are few women in higher levels of government or management roles.
  • Women tend to have traditionally held female occupations such as teachers and nurses, and men often have traditionally held male occupations such as doctors.
  • Pay and promotion for women often tends to be less than that for men.

Housework

  • Women generally do all the cooking and cleaning in the household and often do manual labour irrespective of their age.
  • Modern Ukrainian women work and balance housekeeping.

Carers

  • Ukrainian women living alone may have great difficulty with accepting a non-family carer, or even family carer that is male, even for visiting, but especially for showering and dressing.

Same sex relationships

  • Ukraine was ranked 44th out of 49 countries with a score of 12.4% 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)

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

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

In Ukraine

  • Ukraine has limited funding and national guidelines, which may contribute to the high suicide rate among patients with dementia.

In Australia

  • Knowledge and understanding about dementia and services available may be limited.
  • Many Ukrainian carers of people with dementia are having great difficulties, particularly those that try to manage without involving wider family members.

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

  • Some Ukrainians are fiercely independent and do not want to admit to needing any assistance.
  • There is also the perception amongst some Ukrainian people that residential care is the place you go to die.
  • Ukrainian Australians may view residential care facilities as too regimented, and not culturally sensitive.
  • Specific residential care facilities to support Ukrainian residents are beginning to be developed around Australia, and these may be more accepted.

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

  • Ukrainian men and women are often stoic and may not request pain relief.
  • Traditionally, palliative care in the home was unsupported and Ukrainians did not have access to adequate pain relief.
  • In 2012-13, there was a large scale “Stop Pain” campaign in Ukraine, and in April 2013 changes were made to the Ministry of Health Order No360 on the prescription of controlled medicines allowing the prescription of strong pain relief tablets to be filled for people at home.
  • 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

  • Ukrainian people usually extend strong support, love, care and prayers to loved ones that are terminally ill.
  • Great emphasis is generally placed on a Christian death. This includes preparation for death, such as a Catholic or Orthodox priest to visit the dying person and give them the last rites. The dying may also want to do Confession.
  • Some people may want to be buried in Ukrainian embroidered shirts, or with a Ukrainian embroidered pillow under their head, a cross around their neck and rosary beads in their hands.
  • Very few Ukrainians get cremated.
  • Attending a funeral of a family member or friend is an important honouring tradition in the Ukrainian Community.
  • It is a Ukrainian belief that death is a passage to eternal life.
  • Funeral services and traditions are general faithfully observed.
  • Additional services, usually attended by family and close friends, are held on the ninth and fortieth days following the funeral, and then again six and twelve months after.
  • ‘Provody’ is an annual remembrance day on the Sunday after Easter. On this day, families gather and visit the graves of their ancestors. This day is thought an ancient tradition as well as a Christian symbol that represents Christ’s victory over 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

Taboos

  • The ‘ok’ symbol (index finger and thumb joined to make a circle) may be considered a rude gesture.
  • The thumb between the middle and index finger whilst in a fist may also be considered an obscene gesture.

Manners

Particular manners and etiquette that were common for elderly Ukrainians include the following:

  • Saying prayers or blessing yourself prior to meals.
  • Addressing adults and members of the clergy
  • Dressing well for church on Sundays.
  • Dressing modestly, for example; wearing dresses that are not too short or too low cut.
  • No swearing.
  • No interrupting or speaking back to adults.
  • Asking for a female’s hand in marriage.

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

Some superstitions that may resonate with Ukrainians, include:

  • Avoid shaking hands or exchanging items in the doorway as it can bring bad luck to your guest.
  • An empty bottle should not be left on the table, and an opened bottle should be consumed.
  • If you only wear one shoe, your mother or father will die.
  • Do not change your bed sheets on a Monday.
  • Do not step over someone lying down, as it will bring them bad luck.
  • Do not give someone yellow flowers unless it’s a funeral, as yellow flowers mean death or separation.
  • Do not give knives as presents.
  • Someone is talking about you, if your ears are burning.

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 is a major characteristic of Ukrainians.
  • Visitors are always offered something to eat and drink.
  • It is considered exceptionally rude to eat and drink without offering something to someone else.
  • Some elderly Ukrainians have false teeth through deprivation during famines and war and therefore find chewing difficult.
  • Exotic meats and spices are traditionally uncommon.
  • Traditionally, Ukrainians prefer to eat at home and restaurant dining is for special occasions.

Food in Daily Life

  • Ukrainians make many recipes with potatoes including; soup, pancakes and dumplings.
  • Beetroot is widely grown in Ukraine and is another famous ingredient. It is widely known for making ‘borscht’ (a sour soup).
  • Dishes commonly eaten include; ‘holubtsi’ (cabbage rolls filled with rice, dill and minced pork and veal), cabbage soup and ‘rosil’ (chicken soup).
  • Lunch is usually the main meal of the day and traditionally includes soup (known collectively as borshch), and meat or fish with a salad.
  • Vodka is a staple with meals and between meals, and may be given as a gift  for example; to make a hospital stay more endurable.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions

  • Religious holidays and folk traditions have specific foods associated with them and fasting and church services take place prior to these feast days.
  • Christmas Eve supper includes 12 meatless dishes such as borsch (soup), cabbage rolls, varenyky, fish, mushrooms, vegetables, as well as ‘kutya’ a dish made from wheat grain, honey, poppy seeds and raisins.
  • On Easter Sunday, foods are blessed and eaten after Resurrection services. These foods specifically include: ‘paska’ (a sweet bread), coloured eggs, meat, sausages, bacon, horseradish, butter and garlic.
  • The Transfiguration holiday (19th August) includes; the eating of apples and other seasonal fruits, along with honey once they have been blessed. Alcoholic drinks often compliment meals. It is considered customary to offer drinks to guests who must accept, health or religious reasons permitting.

Dining Etiquette

  • Table manners are generally casual.
  • Table manners are Continental (the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right)
  • The eldest or most honoured guest is served first.
  • Wait until the host invites you to begin a meal.
  • Wrists should be kept resting on the edge of the table during a meal with hands visible.
  • It is considered rude not to try a bit of every dish.
  • Second helpings will be offered.
  • Toasts will usually be given (normally with vodka) whenever three or more people share a meal. The most common toast is "za vashe zdorovya", which means "to your health".
  • Hosts will usually give the first toast to the guest of honour, who then may return a toast later during the meal.
  • It is usually expected that everyone will drink, with the exception of those who have a medical condition.
  • During a toast it is customary that everyone takes at least a sip from the glass.

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.
  • Ukrainian people are traditionally very independent and self-reliant and may perceive seeking and accepting assistance as a sign of weakness.
  • In the Ukrainian culture, information is gathered and thoroughly considered before decisions are made.

Ukrainian community visitors

  • Churches, Hromady (local community) and most Ukrainian organisations have people on their Committees that hold voluntary roles to visit people in hospitals, nursing homes and at home. This can be particularly useful when the person with dementia wants someone to be heard and their story understood.

Toilets

  • Toilets in Ukraine are either stand or squat with raised porcelain footsteps. The female toilet is either marked with a triangle in an upwards-facing direction or ж (for zhinochy). Men’s toilets are marked with a triangle facing a downwards direction, ч or м (for cholovichy or muzhcheny). Careworkers should note that although payment is required for most public toilets in Ukraine, some have been known to not be very clean, which may cause reluctance of use by some care recipients.

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

  • Ukrainian celebrations and commemorations are significant to the Ukrainian community.
  • Ukrainians traditionally follow the Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar.

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.  Eastern Churches (including Ukrainian Orthodox and Catholic Churches) follow the Julian Calendar, so they celebrate Easter on a different Sunday (refer to the calendar in the Special days, Easter resources section).
  • Easter is a feast of joy and gladness that unites the entire community in common celebration.
  • Devout believers participate in Lent where they traditionally abstain from all meat and poultry for 40 days. Others may even extend this to eggs, cheese, milk butter and fish.
  • Easter eggs (krashanky and pysanky) are given as gifts as well as placed on the graves of the dead or buried.
  • On the second day of Easter (known as Wet Monday or Oblyvanyi ponedilok) young people, traditionally boys, splash girls with water. This tradition represents cleansing.
  • The dead are observed during Easter. Traditionally, people gather in the cemetery by the church and may bring a dish of food and alcohol such as wine or liquor, which is consumed on site and the leftovers are left at the graves.

Palm Sunday (‘Verbova Nedilia’)

  • Traditionally, people take pussy willow branches (the first blooming plant) to church to be blessed before they are taken home and placed near religious icons and pictures.

Holy Thursday and Good Friday

  • Housework, including gardening and cooking, is traditionally completed before Holy Thursday. After which time religious services are the main focus.
  • Good Friday church services are significant as people pray to Christ for his crucifixion.

Blessing of the Baskets – Sviachenia

Baskets with foods of significance (relating to Christ) are taken to church on Easter morning to be blessed.

  • Foods in the basket often include:
    • Breads such as paska (a round loaf of bread), Ukrainian babka (a long cylindrical loaf of bread) and ryebread
    • Decorated and coloured eggs such as pysanky and krashanky
    • Meats such as ham, lamb, sausage, veal loaf (telyatyna khlib),  maslo (butter shaped like lamb), telyatyna khlib (veal loaf), smoked bacon
    • Horseradish (sometimes with grated beetroot)
    • Butter (often in the shape of lamb, known as ‘maslo’)
    • Cheese
    • Salt
  • A decorated beeswax candle is also placed in the basket and lit during the blessings in the church.

Easter Sunday  (Paska)

  • People attend Mass and greet each other with “Khrystos voskres! Voistynu Voskrese!” which means "Christ is risen! Indeed He is risen!"
  • After Mass, people eat the contents of the food basket and a candle is placed on the table.

Easter Monday

  • It is considered a holy day and people are generally obligated to attend Mass.

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 in Ukraine on the 7th January.
  • Christmas is celebrated according to the 'Julian' calendar.
  • ‘Veseloho Rizdva’ is Merry Christmas in Ukrainian.
  • St Nicholas Day is usually celebrated at Ukrainian Saturday School, or Church on 19 December (or as close to it), and it is a celebration that is held mainly for the children.
  • The main Christmas meal (or Holy Supper) is eaten on the Christmas Eve (6th of January) in line with Christmas Day (7th of January) according to the Julian calendar.
  • Traditionally, people fast until the Holy Supper (Sviata Vecheria) on Christmas Eve.
  • The meal does not commence until the first star can be seen in the sky, as this represents the journey of the Wise Men. However, when children and older people are present, the meal will begin earlier.
  • The Holy Supper often includes 12 dishes, representing Jesus’s 12 disciples.
  • It is symbolic that a ‘Didukh’, made of a sheaf of wheat, is placed in the room where the Holy Supper will be eaten. This represents the spirit of the ancestors being present.
  • Carols or 'Koliadky’ are often sung after Holy Supper.

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 on 1 January is a public holiday in Ukraine but many Ukrainians still celebrate the Orthodox New Year, called “Malanka” (New Year’s Eve in accordance with the Julian calendar) on the 13th January.
  • Malanka commemorates the feast of St Melania.
  • Many delicious meals are enjoyed and the presidential speech is broadcast throughout the nation before Midnight on New Year’s Eve.
  • Main folk heroes are “Did Moroz” (Father Frost) and his grand-daughter (the Snow Girl).
  • Midnight is marked with fireworks, champagne and well wishes.

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

8 March- Women’s Day

  • A day to celebrate achievements of women.

May - Kyiv Day

  • All Ukrainian cities have their own City Day for when they were founded.
  • Kyiv day is generally the last weekend of May.

May - Victory Day

  • Commemorates the Nazi defeat.

June - Constitution Day

  • Constitution of Independent Ukraine was stratified.
  • The day is celebrated with concerts and fireworks.

24th August - Independence Day

  • Marks when the Ukraine became a democratic and independent state.

Other special days include:

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

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

  • Ukrainian folk songs and Ukrainian folk dancing are important elements of Ukrainian identity and most elderly people love listening to, and watching tapes of Ukrainian music and dance.
  • Ukrainians also usually enjoy being taken to concerts and hearing choirs at church.

Reminiscence:        

  • Smell or taste - Using smell kits, different cultural foods. Suggestions include; chives, thyme, celery leaves, garlic, dill and caraway seeds.
  • 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 “Cultural activities resources” section for some visual 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 increasing the person’s wellbeing and confidence which will decrease responsive behaviours or ill-being.
  • 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

  • Ukrainian music content covers diverse and multiple component elements of music that can be found in Western and Eastern musical civilization.
  • Traditional Ukrainian music includes classical, folk and traditional music.
  • Well known Ukrainian singers include; Nina Matvienko, Marjana Sadowska, and Lilia Pavlovska.
  • A well-known Ukrainian folk song is “Chorna kura” which means “The Black Chicken”.
  • A celebrated Ukrainian composer is Volodymyr Ivasiuk, who has won many awards for his music. Other well-known composers include; Mykola Lysenko, Mykola Leontovych, Kyrylo Stetsenko and Sydir Vorobkevych.

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