Spatial and Language Discordance in Accessing Physicians among Older Immigrants in Toronto, Canada: Identifying Barriers, Facilitators and Interventions

Authors: Lu Wang*, Ryerson University, Sepali Guruge, Ryerson University, Kamran Khan, St. Michael's Hospital; University of Toronto
Topics: Geography and Urban Health, Canada
Keywords: Older immigrants, aging, healthcare, barrier
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The Toronto Census Metropolitan Area has the highest concentration and the most ethnically diverse older adult population (65+) in Canadian cities. It is home to 32% of all older immigrants in Canada, and 62% of all older adults residing in Toronto are immigrants. Older adults often face multiple chronic health challenges, creating a demand for timely and quality primary healthcare delivered by family physicians. Linguistic and cultural barrier greatly limits healthcare utilization among older immigrants. The poster presents preliminary findings from an on-going project funded by the CIHR (Canadian Institute for Health Research) in relation to three objectives: (1) Review relevant literature to identify a set of generic and group-specific barriers and facilitators for older immigrants to accessing linguistically- and culturally-sensitive primary healthcare; (2) Identify key stakeholders who play a critical role in older immigrant’s utilisation of family physicians; and (3) explore potential interventions and programs to help address the barriers identified. A mixed-method approach is used to combine geo-visualization, spatial analysis, and interview and focus groups with older immigrants from two select language groups (Arabic-speaking, Hindi-speaking). Specifically, the poster summarizes findings from local meetings with three groups of key stakeholders: (1) community organizations, to discuss older immigrant’s healthcare challenges and community-level initiatives and programs; (2) lay people, to identify barriers and strategies; and (3) with healthcare professionals, to identify issues and recommendations. By bring together different interest groups and stakeholders, the study provides important implications and “best practices” for community organizations and service providers.

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