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Arzemina Saphic Blazevic


Master’s degree in Social Work (Specialization in Gerontology) (2013), University of Sherbrooke.

Microprogram in Gerontology (2011), University of Sherbrooke.

Multidisciplinary bachelor’s degree (2009), University of Sherbrooke.

Bachelor’s degree in Medicine (1987), University of Sarajevo.




Being a refugee caregiver of an older adult in Quebec: promoting good treatment.


Fellowship from the University of Sherbrooke (2013): $2,500


Master’s degree carried out from fall 2011 to fall 2013.

Master’s thesis written in 2013.


Coming from abroad and helping people, in another country, far away from their native land is not easy and may result in consequences which, sometimes, can lead caregivers to inappropriate actions towards people they are helping. Issues regarding the support given to refugee caregivers in order to prevent their exhaustion, which potentially could be a risk factor for mistreatment (Silverman, 2008), have generated our interest throughout this Master’s thesis. Two elements form the basis of that support: the introduction by practitioners of the good treatment concept for caregivers and the good treatment of people assisted by their relatives afterwards.


This thesis is aiming at reflecting on the importance of supporting refugee caregivers who are assisting their elderly relative. Another goal is to make people aware of the mistreatment problem which has not been really addressed in cultural communities, especially among refugees living in Sherbrooke.


The project has five objectives:

  • Presenting the main proposals that emerged from the analysis of all the information collected.
  • Backing up the practitioners’ work with caregivers in the cultural communities, in the sense of promoting good treatment through appropriate support for these people.
  • Laying the foundation for a new perspective on the situation encountered by refugee caregivers.
  • Providing a better understanding of their needs and the need for psychological and financial services that could meet them.
  • Initiating a reflexion on the practitioners’ role in order to improve the access to psychosocial support.


This thesis is a reflective exercise, based on a scientific literature and clinical analyses around three topics: caregivers, cultural communities and promotion of good treatment (against mistreatment). We referred to articles published in Quebec, in Canada and at the international level, we wrote articles in French, in English and in Croatian and we also referred to articles from social work, gerontology, psychology and health journals. Discussions with provincial committees working on the prevention of mistreatment of older adults from cultural communities were a rich source of information regarding the problem of mistreatment of older adults. Finally, the master’s internship experience in the CSSS-IUGS neighbourhood team office served as a base for the thesis.


Writing, in the winter of 2013, a thesis in social work dealing with the situation of immigrant caregivers in Quebec.

Presenting this master’s thesis to the Quebec’s seniors secretariat, in June 2013.

Presenting, in June 2013, an activity organized by the Research Chair on mistreatment of older adults, addressing the delegation of Respect-Seniors, an organization that works to prevent mistreatment of older adults in Wallonia.

Development of a workshop entitled Ma communauté au service des proches aidants (My community at the service of caregivers) for the Ascot en santé coordinating committee in Sherbrooke. The workshop will be given in fall 2015 to a number of community organizations in Sherbrooke that work with caregivers who are immigrants.

Presentation on November 7, 2015, to CLAVA in Laval, in celebration of Caregiver Week.

One scientific article published in 2016.


Spahic Blazevic, A. (19 mars 2016). Être proche aidant d’un aînée et réfugié au Québec: Promotion de la bientraitance. Colloque inter-universitaire à l’Université de Sherbrooke. Sherbrooke, Qc.

Spahic Blazevic, A. (7 novembre 2015). Être proche aidant dans un contexte d’immigration. Promotion de la bientraitance. Présentation à l’organisme CLAVA de Laval dans le cadre de la semaine des proches aidants. Laval (Québec)

Spahic Blazevic, A. (6 juin 2013). Être à la fois proche aidant d’un aîné et réfugié au Québec : Promotion de la bientraitance. Présentation effectuée dans le cadre d’une formation des coordonnateurs régionaux du Plan d’action maltraitance. Secrétariat aux aînés. Québec (Québec).

Spahic Blazevic, A. (5 juin 2013). Être à la fois proche aidant d’un aîné et réfugié au Québec : Promotion de la bientraitance. Présentation effectuée dans le cadre d’un séminaire de la Chaire de recherche sur la maltraitance envers les personnes aînées. Sherbrooke (Québec).