Cantonese-speaking Older Immigrant Women’s Health Experiences in Toronto

By: Alicia Fong   Lu Wang   Sepali Guruge  

Canadian population health policies do not incorporate the health concerns of older immigrants. Research gaps also contribute to the health inequities for older immigrants. Compounding the research gaps, only few health studies have been conducted in a language other than English or French. To address the research gap, in particular in relation to older immigrant women’s health and wellbeing, our qualitative study involved individual interviews about health and healthcare with Cantonese-speaking older immigrant women, and service providers working with Cantonese-speaking immigrants in Toronto, Canada. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in Cantonese and audio-recorded with consent, and translated into English. Thematic data analysis incorporated an intersectional approach.The post-migration challenges encountered by older immigrants included learning a new language, social isolation, geographic location within Toronto, and economic status. The macro-level barriers included limited/lack of accessible healthcare information and services, lack of consistent government funding for health, social and settlement services for older immigrants, and the discriminatory government policies. The study findings highlight the importance of eliminating post-migration challenges and barriers that affect older immigrant women’s timely access and use of health, social, and settlement services. With the increase in aging population in Canada – with the majority of older adults in most urban cities being immigrants, the older immigrants’ health and wellbeing must take prominence on the national health policy agenda in Canada.

Post-migration, Health policy, Women's health, Aging population, Urban health, Cantonese-speaking
Public Policy and Public Perspectives on Aging
Poster Session

Alicia Fong

Nursing, Ryerson University, Canada

Lu Wang

Associate Professor, Ryerson University, Canada

Prof. Sepali Guruge

Ryerson University, Canada

Professor and Research Chair in Urban Health