Community-level factors that contribute to First Nations and Inuit older adults feeling supported to age well in a Canadian city.

Affiliation

School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, 420B Montpetit Hall, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Despite the proliferation of age-friendly cities in Canada that are intended to support older adults to age well, there are still many inequalities between groups of older adults, particularly, and of concern for this paper, between Indigenous older adults, who experience colonialism's ongoing impacts, and non-Indigenous older adults. A better understanding of factors that inform these inequalities will help in the development of policies and programs that better support Indigenous older adults to age well and, thus, will contribute to ameliorating the inequalities that they face. Using a community-based participatory research approach, informed by a postcolonial theoretical lens, in this paper we addressed the question, "what community-level factors contribute to Indigenous older adults (aged 55 years and over) feeling supported to age well in the city of Ottawa?" We specifically examined this question in relation to the age-friendly communities framework, which guides the City of Ottawa's Older Adult Plan. Thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and photovoice with 32 First Nations and Inuit older adults revealed that the participants felt both supported and unsupported to age well. More specifically, there were two main areas in which they felt they could be better supported to age well: the social environment and physical environment. There were three subthemes within the social environment theme: responsive health and community support services, respect and recognition, and communication and information. Within the physical environment theme there were four subthemes: transportation, housing, accessibility, and gathering space. The results demonstrate that despite there being similarities in the areas that the participants felt they needed support and the areas on which the Older Adult Plan focuses, if the domains of aging well initiatives do not better account for the impacts of colonialism, it is unlikely that they will be effective in supporting Indigenous older adults' health and well-being.

Keywords

Age-friendly,Aging well,Colonialism,Indigenous older adults,