Event Title

Disabled Off-Reserve Aboriginal Adults: Aging and Unmet Needs for Assistive Devices

Presenter Information

Martin Cooke
Pat Newcombe-Welch

Start Date

16-10-2009 2:30 PM

End Date

16-10-2009 4:00 PM

Description

First Nations, Inuit, and Métis populations in Canada have poorer overall health than the general Canadians, and the higher rates of chronic and infectious disease and accidents are well-known. Aboriginal disability rates are also higher, although relatively little research has been carried out in this area. Aboriginal populations are demographically younger than the Canadian population, but they are also ageing. This suggests that disability will become an even more important issue in the future.

This paper addresses the needs of disabled off-reserve Aboriginal Canadians. Although approximately 80% of Aboriginal Canadians live off-reserve, most studies have been focused towards on-reserve populations with a comparable proportion of funding thus directed.

A disabled person’s well-being is directly influenced by the degree to which his/her specialized needs are met. Previous investigation of the use of services by disabled Aboriginal people suggests that there is a large degree of unmet need for services, especially at older ages. However, there has been no examination of unmet needs for aids or assistive devices, including hearing and vision aids, mobility devices, as well as modifications to dwellings such as wheelchair ramps or lifts. Like access to and use of services, access to assistive devices may be influenced by education about services and programs, the availability of programs and benefits, the cultural appropriateness of service delivery as well as income characteristics. In Aboriginal populations, access to services is further complicated by differences in the benefit programmes that serve Registered Indians and Inuit, and Métis and Non-Status First Nations.

Using the 2006 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) and the 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS), this paper examines the age-related patterns of unmet needs for aids and assistive devices and modifications to dwellings among off-reserve Aboriginal people with disabilities, and compares them to the non-Aboriginal population. We find that older Aboriginal women were at somewhat higher risk to disability than older Aboriginal men or non-Aboriginal people, and also that their relative risk of having unmet needs was higher. A majority of these needs were related to mobility, with income the main reason they had not been met. Multivariate logistic regression models of the probability of unmet needs are used to isolate the contribution of education and income, as well as the differences between Status and non-Status First Nations, Inuit, and Métis.

Martin Cooke is an assistant professor jointly appointed in the departments of Sociology and Health Studies and Gerontology at the University of Waterloo, where he teaches in the Master of Public Health programme. Born in Winnipeg, he studied sociology at the University of Winnipeg and sociology and demography the University of Western Ontario. His research areas have been in the social demography and health of Aboriginal peoples and social policy from a life course perspective. Past research topics have included First Nations mobility and migration, women’s experiences with social assistance, and indicators of well-being for Aboriginal populations. He is currently the principal investigator of a SSHRC-funded project examining the life course trajectories of First Nations and Métis people, and an editorial board member of the International Indigenous Policy Journal.

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Oct 16th, 2:30 PM Oct 16th, 4:00 PM

Disabled Off-Reserve Aboriginal Adults: Aging and Unmet Needs for Assistive Devices

First Nations, Inuit, and Métis populations in Canada have poorer overall health than the general Canadians, and the higher rates of chronic and infectious disease and accidents are well-known. Aboriginal disability rates are also higher, although relatively little research has been carried out in this area. Aboriginal populations are demographically younger than the Canadian population, but they are also ageing. This suggests that disability will become an even more important issue in the future.

This paper addresses the needs of disabled off-reserve Aboriginal Canadians. Although approximately 80% of Aboriginal Canadians live off-reserve, most studies have been focused towards on-reserve populations with a comparable proportion of funding thus directed.

A disabled person’s well-being is directly influenced by the degree to which his/her specialized needs are met. Previous investigation of the use of services by disabled Aboriginal people suggests that there is a large degree of unmet need for services, especially at older ages. However, there has been no examination of unmet needs for aids or assistive devices, including hearing and vision aids, mobility devices, as well as modifications to dwellings such as wheelchair ramps or lifts. Like access to and use of services, access to assistive devices may be influenced by education about services and programs, the availability of programs and benefits, the cultural appropriateness of service delivery as well as income characteristics. In Aboriginal populations, access to services is further complicated by differences in the benefit programmes that serve Registered Indians and Inuit, and Métis and Non-Status First Nations.

Using the 2006 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) and the 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS), this paper examines the age-related patterns of unmet needs for aids and assistive devices and modifications to dwellings among off-reserve Aboriginal people with disabilities, and compares them to the non-Aboriginal population. We find that older Aboriginal women were at somewhat higher risk to disability than older Aboriginal men or non-Aboriginal people, and also that their relative risk of having unmet needs was higher. A majority of these needs were related to mobility, with income the main reason they had not been met. Multivariate logistic regression models of the probability of unmet needs are used to isolate the contribution of education and income, as well as the differences between Status and non-Status First Nations, Inuit, and Métis.

Martin Cooke is an assistant professor jointly appointed in the departments of Sociology and Health Studies and Gerontology at the University of Waterloo, where he teaches in the Master of Public Health programme. Born in Winnipeg, he studied sociology at the University of Winnipeg and sociology and demography the University of Western Ontario. His research areas have been in the social demography and health of Aboriginal peoples and social policy from a life course perspective. Past research topics have included First Nations mobility and migration, women’s experiences with social assistance, and indicators of well-being for Aboriginal populations. He is currently the principal investigator of a SSHRC-funded project examining the life course trajectories of First Nations and Métis people, and an editorial board member of the International Indigenous Policy Journal.