The Chinese elderly in Edinburgh : problems of access to social and health services
This research sets out investigate the determinants of social and health service utilization by the Chinese elderly in Edinburgh. Findings indicate that little use of these services was made by the first generation of Chinese elderly in Edinburgh. Factors such as family support, language difficulties, cultural differences, social isolation and structural contingencies of the service provision have all been examined. They are found to be related to one another, but language difficulties appear to be the root of many problems encountered in seeking services. Family support for older members of the Chinese community in Edinburgh has been examined. Findings suggested that four factors - lack of contact, lack of English language competence of family members, problems of family relationships and the nature of care required - all contribute to the capacity and willingness of the family to play the leading role in caring for older members at certain times. In addition, it seems evident that the majority of the elderly women who came to join their family in their late 30s or 40s are likely to have now become vulnerable and socially isolated in later life. Meanwhile this examination of the experience of Chinese immigration has not only thrown light on the scope and ethos of prevailing social policy and revealed some of the limits of its problem-solving capabilities, but also indicates its problem-exacerbating potential in this context. Two implications are highlighted. First, it is established that prevailing social policies have not adequately met the needs of the Chinese community in question. Second, a measure of statutory service is critical and ethnicity and community consultation should be taken into consideration in implementing policies in order to encourage the provision of cost-effective and appropriate services.