Experiences of ageing and support networks for accessing formal care services among older Chinese immigrants in England: a grounded theory study

Liu, Xiayang (2014) Experiences of ageing and support networks for accessing formal care services among older Chinese immigrants in England: a grounded theory study. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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The Chinese group is the fastest growing ethnic group in the UK; this group is ageing fast, with the number of older Chinese doubling in 8 years. The majority of older Chinese immigrants in the UK have low education levels and limited English proficiency, and were reported to have low service use rate, lack of social support, and poor emotional status.

This suggests that they may have difficult ageing experiences. This research set out to understand the UK older Chinese immigrants’ ageing experiences and coping strategies with the challenges of ageing, with a focus on the formal service use in their later life.
The research adopted grounded theory as methodology, and used semi-structured interviews for data collection. The research had two phases. The first phase was exploratory using, mainly, focus groups to investigate perceptions of ageing, and for orientation to the field. Based on the contextual data provided by the phase one study, the phase two study was more focused on the support network and its influences on services use. Here individual interviews with follow-ups were used to gain in-depth understanding.
Together, 58 participants, including older Chinese immigrants (n=44), family members of older Chinese (n=9), staff from organizations that work with Chinese people (n=3), and acquaintance who provided support for older Chinese (n=2), were interviewed.

During phase two of the study, a group of key support providers who facilitated access to formal services for older Chinese were identified, and named as Bridge People. The outcomes of this research revealed that older Chinese immigrants used Bridge People, consisting of people from family, public sectors, Chinese community, and personal social network, to communicate with formal service providers. Older Chinese immigrants also rely on Bridge People to bridge other gaps in service delivery, such as lack of transportation, informational support, emotional support, and other cultural issues. In return, Bridge People gained trust and incurred power with older Chinese immigrants. Properties of Bridge People were identified as bilingual, bicultural, accessible, costless, and no social debt. Within the concept of Bridge People, each category provides a different combination of support, and older Chinese immigrants used this range of support in different combinations.

In this study new theory and knowledge were generated about older Chinese and their key support providers. The Bridge People network model highlights the importance of interactions between Bridge People and older Chinese immigrants in accessing and using formal services. As many factors, including limited information resources, availability, role, emotional attachment, confined the performance of Bridge People, there are implications for policy makers; namely the role and importance of Bridge People should be recognized across health, social care and housing provision for older people. To promote engagement and optimise service use by older Chinese, relevant support should also be provided to Bridge People.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: TCM, Bridge people
Subjects: B900 Others in Subjects allied to Medicine
L400 Social Policy
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2015 15:12
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 16:49
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/21610

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