Strategies for Aging in Place: The Experience of Language-Minority Seniors With Loss of Independence

For healthy and independent older adults, aging in place can be seen as identical to any other adult living at home. Little is known about how frail seniors, particularly those who speak a minority language, manage the challenges of aging in place. The present qualitative descriptive study explores the strategies that Canadian French-speaking seniors have put in place to counter their loss of independence and promote their ability to stay in their home. In Canada, 31% of the population can speak French. Despite the Official Languages Act in Canada, French-speaking older adults have difficulties accessing home support services in their language. In fact, some older adults forego receiving services in French to more quickly access needed services. However, for some French-speaking older adults in the province of New Brunswick, accepting services in English proves difficult because of the language barrier. As a result, language is a social determinant of health, with an impact on health services use and health status. For French-speaking older adults residing in mostly English-speaking communities, most services are not offered in their language of choice. This reality dissuades French-speaking older adults and their families to seek services and care for aging at home.
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