Strug­gles of im­mi­grant se­niors be­ing stud­ied

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS - HiNa alam @clare­clancy

Hong­mei Tong was a stu­dent at the Univer­sity of Cal­gary when she re­al­ized there was a gap in re­search when it came to im­mi­grant se­niors con­nect­ing with their new homes and neigh­bours.

Tong, an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor with MacEwan Univer­sity’s depart­ment of so­cial work, is now start­ing five years of re­search on bar­ri­ers se­niors face in get­ting in­volved in their com­mu­ni­ties. The re­search is sched­uled to be­gin next spring.

“I got a sense that so­cial in­te­gra­tion is re­ally, re­ally im­por­tant for se­niors,” Tong said. “This is an un­der-stud­ied topic.”

Tong’s study will in­volve Ed­mon­to­ni­ans orig­i­nally from China, In­dia and the Philip­pines. She will ask them what they think about par­tic­i­pat­ing in city life and get­ting around town. It will ad­dress the bar­ri­ers they face to get­ting in­volved in their com­mu­ni­ties, and how their unique his­tor­i­cal, cul­tural, po­lit­i­cal and so­ci­etal back­grounds in­flu­ence how they par­tic­i­pate in so­ci­ety.

She hopes her re­search can help pol­icy-mak­ers and ser­vice providers un­der­stand this is­sue, and why and how Asian ag­ing im­mi­grants can bet­ter con­trib­ute to their adopted home.

Tong re­ceived a $172,853 grant from the So­cial Sciences and Hu­man­i­ties Re­search Coun­cil for this study.

While the rest of Canada is go­ing grey, Al­berta in gen­eral and Ed­mon­ton in par­tic­u­lar is still young, ac­cord­ing to 2016 Sta­tis­tics Canada cen­sus data.

She said not only is be­ing active im­por­tant for se­niors’ health but they also bring with them a unique view.

“They have time, skills, in­ter­est and a unique (skill) set for the so­ci­ety,” Tong said.

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