Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population


Vol. 3 No. 1

Spring 2001

SEDAP (Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population) is a multidisciplinary research program studying a wide range of aging-related issues and is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. SEDAP is centred at McMaster University and involves researchers from that institution as well as from the University of British Columbia, Université de Montréal, Queen's and the University of Toronto.


I. Conference April 27-29, 2001

A SEDAP conference on Population Aging, the Health Care System, and the Economy was held April 27-29 in Burlington, Ontario. The following sessions were presented.

II. SEDAP Research Papers

SEDAP Research Papers are available on the SEDAP website at no cost. Paper copies may be obtained for a nominal charge. Please contact Mrs. Gail Kalika, Department of Economics, KTH-426, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont., Canada, L8S 4M4.

Brief descriptions follow of the most recently released papers in the SEDAP series.

SEDAP Research Paper No. 36:

The Consequences of Caregiving: Does Employment Make a Difference?

Candace L. Kemp (Sociology, McMaster University) and Carolyn J. Rosenthal (Centre for Gerontological Studies, McMaster University)

In this paper, the authors examine whether there is a relationship between employment status (employed full-time, employed part-time, not in paid employment) and the consequences of caregiving, and what the nature of any consequences might be. They find that the existing literature in the area of employment status and the consequences of caregiving lacks consensus among research findings and typically does not distinguish between full-time and part- time employment.

The data used in this study are from Statistics Canada's 1996 General Social Survey of Canada, Cycle 11: Community and Social Support. Kemp and Rosenthal select a subsample (426 observations, population-weighted) of women aged 25 to 64 who responded that within the previous 12 months, they had assisted one or more persons aged 65 or over with meal preparation, house cleaning, house maintenance, grocery shopping, transportation, banking or bill payments, or personal care because of a long-term physical disability.

The consequences of caregiving are based on caregivers' responses to numerous questions in the General Social Survey. These questions have been grouped to form six different indices: positive consequences, social and economic consequences, guilt, burden, job adjustment and postponed opportunities. In addition to employment status, other variables in the analysis include age, marital status, household income, number of children in the household under 15 years old, education level and health status as well as the time spent on caregiving and the number of persons being helped.

Among the authors' conclusions is that, contrary to earlier studies, they find no evidence to support the hypothesis that being employed exerts a positive effect against the negative consequences associated with caregiving. With regard to the distinction between part-time and full-time employment, the small size of the part-time sample and statistically insignificant results make conclusions regarding the part-time group unclear.

SEDAP Research Paper No. 37:

Fraud in Ethnocultural Seniors' Communities

Peter J.D. Donahue (Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary)

The findings in this paper are based on focus group interviews conducted between September 1999 and May 2000 with seniors from the Chinese, Hispanic, Portuguese and South Asian communities and their service providers in the Greater Toronto Area. All interviews with seniors were conducted in the seniors' mother tongue. The types of fraud identified included telephone and mail fraud, credit card and banking fraud, home repairs, door-to-door sales, unfair business practices, charity-based scams, housing fraud and immigration fraud.

A total of 97 seniors participated, all of whom had either experienced fraud directly or had intimate knowledge of fraud as experienced by another older adult. Senior participants ranged in age from 57 to 88 and all had immigrated to Canada at some point in their life. 77 per cent of senior female participants and 50 of senior male participants had an elementary school education or less. No individual had an annual income greater than $25,000 and 46 per cent had annual incomes below $10,000. 80 per cent of the senior women and 75 per cent of the senior men lived in rental accommodation.

The key factors identified by participants as contributing to vulnerability to fraud were:

The paper concludes with some recommendations to address these areas of vulnerability.

editor: Deb Fretz -
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Last revised: Jun 12, 2001.