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Cultural Context of Aging

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1 Cultural Context of Aging
Gero 300 Chapter 6 Aging and Ethnicity

2 Introduction Canada census lists 200 ethnicities in the population. (Stats Can) The country is ethnically and racially diverse, therefore the aged population is not homogeneous. 30% of aged members of ethnic/cultural groups. Ethnicity influences aging through culture, language, lifestyle, living arrangements, family support, ethnospecific health and social services Ethnic groupings are fluid concepts that change with social contexts

3 Definitions Ethnicity-ancestral origin, shared history, language and identity, religion and culture. People of the same ethnicity do not always share a common culture-examples In the social hierarchy, different ethnicities have different social rankings-this sets up majority and minority groupings, dominances and inequalities. French/English dualism p.139 is an exception to this-historical context. People, culture and Nation is not a simple correlation

4 Ethnicity First Nations people have become a minority group even with successive waves of immigrants The impact of social status and position in the hierarch affects access to education, labor force, health status, quality of life in old age. Moving to another country demands psychological and social adjustments and puts pressure on resources to deal with aging. Is ethnic identity lost, retained or strengthened in old age?. Ethnicity is inherited from parents and carried on generationally

5 Ethnicity Each generation encounters different socioeconomic and political differences which impacts the experiences across the life cycle. Race Refers to physical appearance or physical differences. It is a constructed social phenomenon Influence of Race and Ethnicity-Does aging level differences because aging challenges social, psychological and physical boundaries-p141

6 Ethnicity Culture is only a part of ethnicity and culture and ethnicity are not interchangeable Culture is not static and is subject to changes in social conditions Ethnicity contributes to the ranking in the social structure, where majority groups have advantages-discuss

7 Ethnicity Dominance may lead to inequality
How do groups become dominant and what impact does this have. Look at ethnicity of the aged and their use of services in society-education, jobs, living arrangements, health status, QOL in old age Socio-economics and political power

8 Race Refers to physical appearance, physical differences, people are grouped with similar biological traits Race may not distinguish between ethnic groups-African Canadians/those from the Caribbean Aging challenges our abilities and cuts across ethnic boundaries

9 Race and Ethnicity Is the “Cross-Over” effect real?
If we identify culturally conditioned values can we better understand the aging process? Does ethnicity act as a filter to influence beliefs, behaviors and interactions with society Aging in an unfamiliar society can cause stress and distress. We have little information about discrimination of older people from minority groups

10 Race Aging in an unfamiliar ethnic environment can cause distress for older people or it may act as a buffer and provide more social support- discuss how this might happen

11 Ethnic Origin In Canada-First Nations, English, French are charter groups. Immigration in 1910, 50’s, 90’s Immigration was to attract workers, displacement, war, political unrest. By 1994 immigrants from Europe-17% from Asia 57% % of respondents stated ethnic origin British, French, followed by German, Italian, First Nation, Ukrainian, Chinese, Dutch. The elderly are still dominated by British and French ancestry.

12 Ethnic Origin The ethnic mix of Canada’s elderly reflects the aging of longer established immigrant populations that arrived in Canada at earlier times. Displacement by war or political unrest The ethnic mix of the country is gradually changing categories-see pages Immigration-27% of older people in Canada are immigrants-61% arrived before 1961 In 1997 only 3% <3,000 people who immigrated were 65 or older.

13 Immigration 80% immigrants family class, 9% refugees, 2% economic class. p148 Family class-Canadian Citizens can sponsor close relatives Economic class come to Canada for business purposes. Older people came to Canada to live with their children, better health and social services, political environment.

14 Immigrants Immigrants 65+ came to this country when they were younger than 45, married and had dependent children. Slightly higher levels of education and professional or managerial status. In 1996 only 6% of 65+ are members of a visible minority. 40% Chinese, 19% South Asian 18% Black (Note these data are 10 years old) New cohorts will be much more diverse. By 2017 the South Asian and combined with Chinese population will be the largest visible minority groups projected to reach 3-4 million.

15 Immigration Wealth, Health (review pages )and Family Support p )in older Minorities. Poverty is extensive for all minority groups and all are economically worse off than non-minorities Elderly women immigrants have lower incomes Visible minorities do not benefit much from public or private pension systems.

16 Immigration Visible minorities make up largest proportion of older immigrants to Canada and do not qualify for pensions relying on families for economic support. They often live in multi-generational households and are totally dependent on family for their everyday needs. This can become more difficult if they develop a chronic illness or their adult children have psycho-social problems. First Nation seniors have even greater challenges p

17 Assimilation and Modernization
See pages Discuss Pluralism and Language What is the impact of multiculturalism on society and on aging? Constructing ethnicity-p

18 Health Fundamentally, immigrants of all ages are healthy on arrival to Canada, but lose this status over time Research is showing health varies by ethnic group and specific belief patterns about illness and health care utilization Family support-few differences among ethnic groups-South Asians, Southern Europeans provide more help to senior members of their families-filial obligation and co-residency

19 Policy and Practice Implications for Policy and Practice
Services should be culturally sensitive and integrated with all services for the aged Barriers include language, lack of knowledge of services, transportation, financial, ethnically sensitive services and professionals. Impact of language barriers

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