UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Examining Social Relationships among Older Muslim Immigrants Living in Canada: A Narrative Inquiry Nasir, Nada; Hand, Carri; Huot, Suzanne

Abstract

Social connectedness and engagement are particularly important among groups who are at risk of experiencing social isolation, such as immigrant older adults. The objective of our study was to understand the social relationships of aging Muslim Lebanese immigrants living in Canada by exploring their lives in their ethnic and wider communities. This study used a life course perspective and adopted a constructivist narrative inquiry to understand the diverse lived experiences of four older adults who immigrated to Canada during early adulthood. Participants engaged in a narrative interview and follow-up session in which they storied their lived experiences. Findings describe one core theme, cultivating social relationships through family, friends, and community interdependence, and three related sub-themes: (1) navigating and creating family interdependence and planting new roots; (2) family interdependence in later life: the important role of grandchildren; and (3) cultivating ethnic and local interdependence to support aging in place. The participants’ stories provided an understanding of how culture, religion, aging, family, and immigration experiences interrelated throughout their life course and shaped their social relationships during later life. This study sheds new insight on the importance of culturally tailored activities and awareness about the social needs of immigrant older adults.

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CC BY 4.0