Social determinants of older adults’ awareness of community support services in Hamilton, Ontario
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Community support services (CSSs) have been developed in Canada and other Western nations to enable persons coping with health or social issues to continue to live in the community. This study addresses the extent to which awareness of CSSs is structured by the social determinants of health. In a telephone interview conducted in February-March 2006, 1152 community-dwelling older adults (response rate 12.4%) from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada were made to read a series of four vignettes and were asked whether they were able to identify a CSS they may turn to in that situation. Across the four vignettes, 40% of participants did name a CSS as a possible source of assistance. Logistic regression was used to determine factors related to awareness of CSSs. Respondents most likely to have awareness of CSS include the middle-aged and higher-income groups. Being knowledgeable about where to look for information about CSSs, having social support and being a member of a club or voluntary organisations are also significant predictors of awareness of CSSs. Study results suggest that efforts be made to improve the level of awareness and access to CSSs among older adults by targeting their social networks as well as their health and social care providers.
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