Ageing and Society

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Ageing and Society (2009), 29:585-608 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © 2009 Cambridge University Press

Research Article

Negotiating candidacy: ethnic minority seniors' access to care


a1 Centre for Healthy Aging at Providence, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Article author query
koehn s [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


The ‘Barriers to Access to Care for Ethnic Minority Seniors’ (BACEMS) study in Vancouver, British Columbia, found that immigrant families torn between changing values and the economic realities that accompany immigration cannot always provide optimal care for their elders. Ethnic minority seniors further identified language barriers, immigration status, and limited awareness of the roles of the health authority and of specific service providers as barriers to health care. The configuration and delivery of health services, and health-care providers' limited knowledge of the seniors' needs and confounded these problems. To explore the barriers to access, the BACEMS study relied primarily on focus group data collected from ethnic minority seniors and their families and from health and multicultural service providers. The applicability of the recently developed model of ‘candidacy’, which emphasises the dynamic, multi-dimensional and contingent character of health-care access to ethnic minority seniors, was assessed. The candidacy framework increased sensitivity to ethnic minority seniors' issues and enabled organisation of the data into manageable conceptual units, which facilitated translation into recommendations for action, and revealed gaps that pose questions for future research. It has the potential to make Canadian research on the topic more co-ordinated.

(Accepted September 08 2008)

Key Words:seniors; immigrants; access to services; continuing care; British Columbia; candidacy model


c1 Address for correspondence: Sharon Koehn, Centre for Healthy Aging at Providence, c/o Honoria Conway Assisted Living, 4875 Heather Street, Vancouver, BC, V57 0A7, Canada. E-mail: