Master of Science
Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
This thesis investigated recent older immigrants’ experiences contributing to Canadian society, focusing on older adults who moved to Canada to join their families in Canada. Narrative inquiry was used to gain insight into recent older immigrants’ lives and experiences. Four participants were interviewed three times each. Analysis involved a holistic-content and a life course approach. Three themes were identified: (1) Receiving and Giving Back; (2) Staying in the Background; and (3) Contributing as Expressing Identity. This study highlights and acknowledges recent older immigrants’ informal and hidden contributions, the multiple ways they contribute, and the challenges they face in doing so. Furthermore, it demonstrates how recent older immigrants experience contributing to their families and communities and how family class immigration is connected to strong family and cultural rather than economic values.
Summary for Lay Audience
Canada is experiencing a high increase of immigration. Immigrants currently make up to 22% of Canada’s population. Each year, Canada welcomes up to 17,000 older immigrants who came through the family class program.The Canadian society is often perceived as tolerant and inclusive, especially towards minorities. However, discourses about older immigrants as a drain on resources and of little value to Canadian society are gaining prominence. There is a discrepancy between Canada’s immigration policy and the Canadian Society. One the one side, the Canadian government encourages immigration and provides a list of integration services for recent immigrants. On the other side, immigrants who come to Canada and contribute economically are more welcome into this country, than immigrants who do not or cannot contribute economically.
This thesis investigated recent older immigrants’ experiences contributing to Canadian society. The term 'recent older immigrant' refers to someone who immigrated to Canada as an older person. They most likely entered Canada through the family class program and live together with their families in Canada. Four recent older immigrants were interviewed and shared their story about living with their families and contributing to their surroudings. Three themes were apparent which were labeled as: (1) Receiving and Giving Back; (2) Staying in the Background; and (3) Contributing as expressing Identity. This study highlights and acknowledges the contributions older immigrants make, which might be unrecognized by broader society, but visible and important to their immediate community, families, and to themselves.This knowledge can support recent older immigrants' inclusion in society, their well-being, and their quality of life, as well as benefit their surroundings.
Schuster, Alexandra, "Examining Recent Older Immigrants’ Lives in their Communities and their Experiences Contributing to Canadian Society" (2019). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 6493.