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“Multiple margins” (being older, a woman, or a visible minority) constrained older women’s access to Canadian health care

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Q What are older women’s experiences with the Canadian healthcare system? How do they manage their health and access health care?


A feminist phenomenological study.


Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


32 Canadian women who were 65–83 years of age. 14 were Caucasian, 11 Ismaili, 3 Aboriginal, and 4 Japanese.


Participants were interviewed (for 1.5 to 2.5 h) in 5 small groups of 3–11 women. A follow up interview was held with 5 members of 1 group. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and analysed for emergent themes.


4 themes were identified within and across the interviews. Femininity, relationships, and means of support. The women were intrigued by the concept of sharing their stories in an organised discussion (eg, “We always get together and we sit around and talk, but never discussing the …the personal things”). Examples of “personal” matters included the loneliness they had endured after spending years in various relationships in their working and personal lives. They made a connection between extreme loneliness and …

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  • For correspondence: Dr J L Kinch, Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

  • Source of funding: no external funding.