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Vulnerability of older Latino and Asian immigrants with limited English proficiency

TitleVulnerability of older Latino and Asian immigrants with limited English proficiency
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsKim, G, Worley, CB, Allen, RS, Vinson, L, Crowther, MR, Parmelee, P, Chiriboga, DA
JournalJ Am Geriatr SocJ Am Geriatr Soc
Date PublishedJul
ISBN Number1532-5415 (Electronic)<br/>0002-8614 (Linking)
Accession Number21718269
KeywordsAged, Aged, 80 and Over, Asian Continental Ancestry Group, California, Cross-Sectional Studies, Emigrants and Immigrants, Female, Health Services/ utilization, Health Status, Hispanic Americans, Humans, Language, Male, Mental Health, Middle Aged, Socioeconomic Factors
AbstractOBJECTIVES: To explore the implications of limited English proficiency (LEP) for disparities in health status and healthcare service use of older Latino and Asian immigrants. DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis of existing secondary data. SETTING: The 2007 California Health Interview Survey. PARTICIPANTS: Latino and Asian immigrants aged 60 and older (n=1,745) were divided into three language proficiency groups: older adults who have LEP, are proficient in English but also speak another language at home (EP), and speak English only (EO). MEASUREMENTS: Sociodemographic characteristics, health status, health service use, and barriers to service use were compared. RESULTS: Older Latino and Asian immigrants with LEP tended to have poorer self-rated health and higher psychological distress than the EP and EO groups. They were also less likely than the EP and EO groups to use health services and more likely to experience barriers to service use (e.g., difficulty understanding written information at the doctor's office). CONCLUSION: Older Latinos and Asians with LEP are at higher risk for poor physical and mental health outcomes and inadequate health care. Healthcare systems should consider strategies to address the language needs of older immigrants to reduce the effect of linguistic disparities on access to care and ultimately to improve health status for these vulnerable populations.