Chapter 4: Family Dynamics – Working with Seniors
Immigrant seniors play an integral role in Canadian cultural experiences. They provide insights into the traditional customs and histories of their ancestors and pass on meaningful traditions to second- and third-generation immigrant children, which adds to Canada’s diverse cultural landscape. Immigrant seniors also play a vital role in the ethnocultural communities in which they live and serve, acting as volunteers, mentors, and role models. The role of settlement practitioners in local immigrant partnership agencies is integral to the successful integration of immigrant seniors to Canada’s welcoming communities. Immigrant seniors who access support services are better equipped to navigate Canadian transportation, educational, legal, and healthcare systems. This, in turn, helps to build independence among immigrant seniors.
Settlement practitioners must be able to evaluate client need from multiple lenses to reconcile the impacts of racism and how it affects the health and well-being of elderly immigrants, recognizing that stereotypes and microaggressions are demeaning and harmful to the emotional well-being of immigrant seniors. The role of the practitioner is to provide service ethically by using communicative devices in their work with diverse immigrant seniors. Finally, the practitioner must recognize that not all migration stories are the same, and as such, case management is unique to each situation and should be evaluated and carefully considered before making assumptions, connections, or suggestions.