‘It’s Like Chicken Talking to Ducks’ and Other Challenges to Families of Chinese Immigrant Older Adults in Long-Term Residential Care

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Abstract

Immigrant older adults are increasingly moving into long term residential care (LTRC) homes; however, most were designed and continue to be run in accordance with Anglocentric norms and values. Participation and interest in Family Councils—through which they might collectively voice concerns—was low within our purposive sample of nine Chinese-origin residents living in LTRC homes and 11 family carers. Our study, conducted in two LTRC homes in British Columbia, Canada between January and March 2016, further explored participants’ perceptions of quality of care by staff and quality of life of residents. Our findings negate participants’ rationale that they do not attend because they have no issues to raise. Solutions must recognize that carers’ time is precious and care-work is gendered; language incongruity and failure to address it marginalizes residents and their family members. A culturally informed reticence to speak out is reinforced when attempts to do so are silenced.

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