January 19, 2023 11:11 am
How can food experience serve as a medium for social integration among Immigrant seniors in Canadian society?
Names, Organizational Affiliations, and Locations of all Authors
N. Hickens1, D. Lordly
1Department of Applied Human Nutrition, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, NS.
Immigrant seniors are among the most vulnerable demographic within Canadian society. Accounting for one-third of the senior population, these immigrants face unique challenges, including a lack of programming, language, socioeconomic and transportation barriers hindering societal integration, health, and well-being.
Objective(s)/Process or Summary of Content
This study uses a phenomenological approach to explore the experiences of immigrant seniors transitioning to Canadian society by considering their diversity of food knowledge and experiences.
Method(s)/Systemic Approach Used
Five immigrant seniors who could communicate in English in some capacities were recruited through social media, community organizations, and snowball sampling to participate in an interview. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were independently coded by the primary investigator and discussed with and verified by a second researcher to establish final themes and subthemes.
Participants represented different ethnic and demographic backgrounds. Participants identified several influences that shaped their experiences and identity as an immigrant senior. Three key themes emerged: Embracing change while preserving self; Food knowledge and experiences as an avenue for storytelling and; Identity and significant life changes as an immigrant senior.
The experiences of immigrant seniors are a complex and multifaceted phenomenon manifesting in various ways. Habits, norms, and adaptations to novel circumstances are instrumental to these seniors' overall well-being and integration into a new environment.
Significance to Dietetics
Food experiences may serve as a medium for understanding, coping with, and sharing differences within new cultural contexts. This medium may provide opportunities for dietitians and others to advance equity and inclusion of immigrant seniors in Canadian society.
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