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Accepted Paper:

“The older you get; the less people care about you”: The sexual and reproductive health care experiences of older women ageing with disabilities in Canada  
Meredith Evans (University of Toronto Scarborough) Alexandra Rego Sidrah Zafar (University of Toronto Scarborough) Kate Welsh Hilary Brown (University of Toronto)

Paper short abstract:

How do older women ageing with disabilities navigate sexual and reproductive health care? This paper examines six narratives of women aged 50 years and older with disabilities and analyzes their experiences navigating sexual and reproductive health care services.

Paper long abstract:

How do older women ageing with disabilities navigate sexual and reproductive health care? Sexual and reproductive health research is predominantly focused on the non-disabled reproductive aged population (15-49 years), rendering women aged 50 years and older invisible and those ageing with disabilities doubly invisible. Drawing from a larger qualitative study on sexual and reproductive health in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic, this paper examines six narratives of women aged 50 years and older with disabilities and analyzes their experiences navigating sexual and reproductive health care services. While infection prevention and control policies widely implemented across Canada during the initial years of the COVID-19 pandemic identified both older and disabled populations as especially vulnerable and in need of supports, the narratives from our study demonstrate that older women with disabilities experienced a lack of supports during the pandemic, especially as pertaining to their sexual and reproductive health. Participants recounted challenges accessing sexual and reproductive health care services during the pandemic, including menstruation and menopause-related supports, gynaecological care, and mental health care. They also described intersecting experiences of ageism, ableism, and sexism when seeking and receiving care, such as feeling dismissed, disrespected, and devalued by health care providers, which were compounded for some by experiences of racism and classism. These narratives illustrate that navigating sexual and reproductive health care when ageing with disabilities is a complex gendered experience, and affirm that sexual and reproductive health is a meaningful and important aspect of both ‘successful’ and ‘unsuccessful’ experiences of ageing with disability.

Panel OP087
The intersectionality of anthropology, ageing, and disability studies [Medical Anthropology Europe (MAE)]
  Session 2