Chinese family care partners of older adults in Canada have grit: A qualitative study

D. Y.L. Leung, C. T. Lee, S. Y.J. Chu, F. Ng, P. Wen, J. Fan, D. S.K. Cheung, L. Seto Nielsen, S. Guruge, J. Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Aim: To explain the process taken by Chinese family care partners of older adults in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada, to access health and social services in their communities. The research question was: What mechanisms and structures impact the agency of Chinese family care partners of older adults, in the process of assisting them to access health and social services?. Design: This qualitative study was informed by critical realism. Methods: Chinese family care partners of older adults in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada, were interviewed from August 2020 to June 2021. Transcripts underwent thematic analysis. Findings: Twenty-eight Chinese family care partners expressed a firm commitment to maintain caregiving conditions and to judiciously access health and social services. Their commitment was made up of three parts: (a) legislative and cultural norms of family, work, and society; (b) their perseverance to fill gaps with limited social and financial resources; (c) the quality of their relationship to, and illness trajectory of the older adults. The social structures created tension in how Chinese family care partners made decisions, negotiated resources, and ultimately monitored and coordinated timely access with older adults. Conclusion: Participants' commitment and perseverance were conceptualized as “grit,” central to their agency to conform to legislative and cultural norms. Moreover, findings support grit's power to motivate and sustain family caregiving, in order for older adults to age in place as long as possible with finite resources. Implications for the profession: This study highlights the importance of cultural awareness education for nurses, enabling continuity of care at a systems level and for a more resilient healthcare system. Impact: Family care partners' grit may be crucial for nurses to harness when together, they face limited access to culturally appropriate health and social services in a system grounded in values of equity and inclusion, as in Canada. Reporting method: When writing this manuscript, we adhered to relevant EQUATOR guidelines of the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research (COREQ). Patient or public involvement and engagement: No patient or public involvement.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • aged
  • Asian people/psychology
  • Canada
  • caregivers/psychology
  • family
  • health services research
  • immigrants
  • professional-family relations
  • qualitative research
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


Dive into the research topics of 'Chinese family care partners of older adults in Canada have grit: A qualitative study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this