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Open Access Services for Seniors in Small-Town Canada: The Paradox of Community Les services fournis aux personnes âgées dans les petites villes du Canada : le paradoxe de la communauté

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Abstract:

There is a prevailing argument that what small towns lack in formal services they make up for in close ties among rural people and a shared understanding of the notion of community. Drawing on research undertaken in 9 small towns across Canada, the authors examine how the concept of community operates with respect to the provision of in-home and community care for seniors. The analysis is based on interviews with 55 key informants from local governments, health and social care agencies, voluntary sector organizations, and community groups. The findings reveal the paradox of the conventional belief that rural communities can compensate for lack of services for seniors while failing to take into account the uncertain coping ability of the local informal sectors. The authors challenge rural health policy decision-makers, researchers, and providers to debunk assumptions about services for seniors in rural Canada.

French
Il existe une idée répandue selon laquelle les petites villes rurales compensent le manque de services structurés qui les caractérise par la création de liens serrés entre leurs habitants ainsi que par une compréhension commune de la notion de communauté. À partir d'une recherche effectuée dans neuf petites villes situées un peu partout au Canada, les auteurs examinent l'application du concept de communauté en ce qui a trait à la prestation de soins à domicile et communautaires aux aînés. L'analyse se fonde sur des entrevues réalisées avec 55 informateurs clés provenant d'organismes gouvernementaux, d'agences de santé et de services sociaux ainsi que de groupes du secteur bénévole et communautaire locaux. Les résultats révèlent le paradoxe de la croyance conventionnelle selon laquelle les communautés rurales peuvent compenser le manque de services offerts aux personnes âgées, cette croyance ne tenant pas compte de la capacité d'adaptation incertaine des secteurs informels locaux. Les auteurs mettent au défi les décideurs en matière de politiques sur la santé dans les régions rurales, les chercheurs et les fournisseurs de services de démolir certaines présomptions à propos des services offerts aux personnes âgées dans les régions rurales du Canada.

Keywords: AGING; GERONTOLOGY; RURAL AND REMOTE HEALTH; SOCIAL SUPPORT; THEORY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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