Title

Occupations and health as an elder South Asian immigrant

Start Time

21-10-2011 10:35 AM

End Time

21-10-2011 10:50 AM

Session Type

Event

Abstract

The number of immigrants from South Asia has risen in recent years to meet the workforce demands of the high-tech industry. The majority of this labor force is comprised of adults in their twenties and thirties. As they marry and have children, many bring their parents to the US for assistance in raising their children. These elder immigrants are being transplanted to a foreign environment causing many disruptions to their routines and loss of some meaningful occupations. Many of these shifts or losses may be attributed in part to the loss of their social network, lack of extended family, lack of financial freedom, reduced community mobility, and change in family dynamics. Per data gathered by the local city government department of aging, there is a higher incidence of health related issues, such as depression and diabetes, in these elder ethnic immigrants. With the long term goal of developing specific community based programming for these seniors, a collaborative study has been initiated of which this data is one part. Using grounded theory methodology, 8 interviews were conducted with healthy and active elders from the Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities for this pilot study. Those who could communicate in English were selected for convenience and spouses were included when possible. The aim was to study active South Asian seniors, who immigrated after retirement, to see what contributed to their health. Specifically, what routines and activities they engaged in, their lifestyle, how they received and perceived information about health and health promoting activities, and what they perceive as barriers to engagement in these activities. Preliminary results indicate the following factors as integral to a healthy adaptation and engagement in the new environment. One key is a facilitative environment. This includes caring and supportive children, autonomy in routines, knowledge of resources and access to the community. Another key for these participants is leading a life with purpose. This meant engaging in the types of activities that keep them healthy physically and mentally as well as being flexible and adaptable in their daily orchestration of occupations in order to enjoy what they can of their life.

Discussion questions:

  1. How instructive are these findings in understanding adaptation and orchestration? Can these findings be applied to others who have experienced severe disruptions in their routines and occupations?
  2. How does this research contribute to enhancing understanding of the relationship between occupation and health?

References

Acharya, M.P., & Northcott, H.C. (2007). Mental distress and the coping strategies of elderly Indian immigrant women. Transcultural Psychiatry, 44(4), pp. 614-636. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1363461507083901

Horne, M., Skelton, D., Speed, S., & Todd, C. (2010). The influence of primary health care professionals in encouraging exercise and physical activity uptake among White and South Asian older adults: experiences of young older adults. Patient education and counseling, 79, 97-103. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2009.04.004

Jonnaladda, S. S., & Diwan, S. (2005). Health behaviors, chronic disease prevalence and self-rated health of older Asian Indian immigrants in the U.S.. Journal of immigrant health 7(2), 75-83. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10903-005-2640-x

Kalavar, J.M., & Van Willigen, J. (2005). Older Asian Indians resettled in America: Narratives about households, culture and generation. Journal of Cross Cultural Gerontology, 20(3), pp. 213-230. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10823-006-9004-4

Lum, T., & Vanderaa, J. (2010). Health Disparities Among Immigrant and Non-immigrant Elders: The Association of Acculturation and Education. Journal of Immigrant & Minority Health, 12(5), 743-753. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10903-008-9225-4

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Oct 21st, 10:35 AM Oct 21st, 10:50 AM

Occupations and health as an elder South Asian immigrant

The number of immigrants from South Asia has risen in recent years to meet the workforce demands of the high-tech industry. The majority of this labor force is comprised of adults in their twenties and thirties. As they marry and have children, many bring their parents to the US for assistance in raising their children. These elder immigrants are being transplanted to a foreign environment causing many disruptions to their routines and loss of some meaningful occupations. Many of these shifts or losses may be attributed in part to the loss of their social network, lack of extended family, lack of financial freedom, reduced community mobility, and change in family dynamics. Per data gathered by the local city government department of aging, there is a higher incidence of health related issues, such as depression and diabetes, in these elder ethnic immigrants. With the long term goal of developing specific community based programming for these seniors, a collaborative study has been initiated of which this data is one part. Using grounded theory methodology, 8 interviews were conducted with healthy and active elders from the Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities for this pilot study. Those who could communicate in English were selected for convenience and spouses were included when possible. The aim was to study active South Asian seniors, who immigrated after retirement, to see what contributed to their health. Specifically, what routines and activities they engaged in, their lifestyle, how they received and perceived information about health and health promoting activities, and what they perceive as barriers to engagement in these activities. Preliminary results indicate the following factors as integral to a healthy adaptation and engagement in the new environment. One key is a facilitative environment. This includes caring and supportive children, autonomy in routines, knowledge of resources and access to the community. Another key for these participants is leading a life with purpose. This meant engaging in the types of activities that keep them healthy physically and mentally as well as being flexible and adaptable in their daily orchestration of occupations in order to enjoy what they can of their life.

Discussion questions:

  1. How instructive are these findings in understanding adaptation and orchestration? Can these findings be applied to others who have experienced severe disruptions in their routines and occupations?
  2. How does this research contribute to enhancing understanding of the relationship between occupation and health?