Accepted for/Published in: JMIR Aging
Date Submitted: Oct 26, 2018
Open Peer Review Period: Oct 27, 2018 - Nov 22, 2018
Date Accepted: Dec 17, 2018
(closed for review but you can still tweet)
Understanding Social Network and Support for Older Immigrants in Ontario, Canada: Protocol for a Mixed-Methods Study
Older adults are the fastest growing age group worldwide and in Canada. Immigrants represent a significant proportion of older Canadians. Social isolation is common among older adults and has many negative consequences, including limited community and civic participation, increased income insecurity, and increased risk of elder abuse. Additional factors such as the social, cultural, and economic changes that accompany migration, language differences, racism, and ageism heighten older immigrants’ vulnerability to social isolation.
This mixed-methods sequential (qualitative-quantitative) study seeks to clarify older immigrants’ social needs, networks, and support and how these shape their capacity, resilience, and independence in aging well in Ontario.
Theoretically, our research is informed by an intersectionality perspective and an ecological model, allowing us to critically examine the complexity surrounding multiple dimensions of social identity (eg, gender and immigration) and how these interrelate at the micro (individual and family), meso (community), and macro (societal) levels in diverse geographical settings. Methodologically, the project is guided by a collaborative, community-based, mixed-methods approach to engaging a range of stakeholders in Toronto, Ottawa, Waterloo, and London in generating knowledge. The 4 settings were strategically chosen for their diversity in the level of urbanization, size of community, and the number of immigrants and immigrant-serving organizations. Interviews will be conducted in Arabic, Mandarin, and Spanish with older women, older men, family members, community leaders, and service providers. The study protocol has received ethics approval from the 4 participating universities.
Quantitative and qualitative data collection is ongoing. The project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada.
Comparative analyses of qualitative and quantitative data within and across sites will provide insights about common and unique factors that contribute to the well-being of older immigrants in different regions of Ontario. Given the comprehensive approach to incorporating local knowledge and expert contributions from multilevel stakeholders, the empirical and theoretical findings will be highly relevant to our community partners, help facilitate practice change, and improve the well-being of older men and women in immigrant communities.
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