Exploring the Accessibility of Health Services for Ethnic Minority Seniors in Ottawa

About the Project

The aging population in Ottawa is growing and diversifying at a rapid rate. In 2016, over 15% of Ottawa’s population was aged 65 years or older. By 2031, it is estimated that the older adult population would reach approximately a quarter million people.

Ottawa is also “a multi-ethnic city, with 156 ethnic groups and more than 70 languages”, with visible minorities representing the fastest growing group in the city. The prominence of visible minorities will inevitably result in a more diverse aging population in the near future.

There remains a significant lack of health-related data and research on visible minorities in general, but particularly information regarding distinct ethnic minority seniors. Researchers have argued for the need for more localized research, given the clustering of ethnic minorities in urban areas and the uniqueness of the local health system.

This study looks to address this gap while engaging in an action research agenda that supports the health equity-related advocacy and outreach efforts of community-based organizations serving ethnic minority and immigrant populations in Ottawa.

This project represents a partnership with the Social Planning Council (SPC), which currently works with 25 “ethnocultural” grassroots groups around various issues, e.g. elder abuse, caregiving, social isolation, and health equity.

Research Team

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Dennis Kao

Principal Investigator

Heather Endleman

Heather Endleman

Research Assistant

Research Objectives

The  primary goal of the proposed project is to conduct a preliminary assessment of the challenges facing ethnic minority seniors and their use of health services in Ottawa, focusing on 3 objectives:

  • Conduct a systematic review of the research literature (both academic and grey) pertaining to health services use among ethnic minority seniors in Ontario and Ottawa

  • Assess the viability of the Canadian Community Health Survey as a secondary data source to examine health access issues impacting seniors, disaggregated by distinct ethnic minority groups and geographic area (i.e. Ontario and/or health region);

  • Explore the potential barriers to health services facing ethnic minority seniors, using semi- structured interviews with key informants;