Lived Experiences of Aging Immigrants: A narrative-photovoice study

Thank you for your interest! (Page en français ici)

Our project explores the lived experiences of immigrant older adults. It studies the impact of immigration on aging within the context of life history narratives and photos. We interviewed 19 older adult immigrants who were born in various countries around the world and who are currently living in British Columbia and Quebec, about their life histories and experiences of aging. All of our participants took pictures of their daily lives to showcase their experiences and what is meaningful to them. Themes included housing and transportation, precarious employment, the impact of past trauma, family and care, community engagement and resilience. Our project highlights the impact of structural oppression on the everyday experiences of immigrant older adults using an intersectional life course approach. The resilience and resistance strategies used by older adults, their families and communities are showcased.

A "photovoice" exhibit showcasing the stories and photos of our participants was held simultaneously in Montreal and Vancouver in 2017 and was a resounding success with over 100 people attending in each location!

▼ Greater Vancouver Exhibit

▼ Greater Montreal Exhibit

Following these exhibits, we expanded our team and organized a series of Stakeholder Outreach Forums in four regions across Canada (Greater Montreal, Quebec City, Calgary and Greater Vancouver) in collaboration with local community partners. These Outreach Forums brought together stakeholders from multiple sectors to share information and strategize about the actions necessary to improve recognition and support for aging immigrants. Our website showcases the materials we produced over the course of the project, including the Exhibit Catalogue, Regional and National Outreach Forum Reports and Regional Policy Briefs. We hope our work will promote awareness and support efforts to create change in order to improve services and supports to older immigrants in Canada, their families, and communities. Please keep in touch with the team members!

Exhibit Catalogue

The Exhibit Catalogue showcases the stories and photographs of all 19 project participants, as well as theme panels that formed the Lived Experiences of Aging Immigrants photovoice exhibit. The Exhibit helps us understand people’s unique life stories and the ways in which barriers might operate in their daily lives. We present both their challenges (such as barriers and discrimination, poverty and family disruption) and celebrations (such as building community, caring for family, contributing to society, faith and resilience). This project is a testament to the strength, resilience and determination of older immigrants. Their stories highlight how policies and services need to be more supportive, flexible, and accessible.

National Report

The National Report presents the results from all of our Local Stakeholder Outreach Forums across the four regions (Greater Montreal, Quebec City, Calgary and Greater Vancouver). This report summarizes key findings and recommendations on four key theme areas: 1) caregiving; 2) social inclusion; 3) housing; and 4) transportation. The National Report provides insight about the common problems faced by older immigrants in urban areas in Canada and can be used to inform community-based action plans and policymaking strategies at municipal, provincial and federal levels of governance.

Regional Policy Briefs

Key actions addressing important areas for policy change aimed at different levels of government, public sector services and community-based programs and services are identified in these regional Policy Briefs undertaken in four regions: 1) Greater Montreal; 2) Quebec City; 3) Calgary; and 4) Greater Vancouver. Key recommendations for action are identified in each of the 4 theme areas highlighted in the National Report. These Policy Briefs are presented in either English or French, depending upon the region in which they were developed.

Event Reports

Throughout 2018-19, a series of Stakeholder Outreach Forums were held in partnership with our regional community partners. These forums focused on central themes emerging from our research. The regional sites in which events took place across Canada interpreted these themes in ways that were unique and relevant to their context. Our Outreach Forums brought together stakeholders from multiple sectors to share information and strategize about the actions necessary to improve recognition and support for aging immigrants and drew upon participants’ decades of knowledge and action around various forms of exclusion and precarity experienced by older immigrants.

Webinars

The impact of COVID-19: Immigrant Older Adults and their families, Challenges and recommendations.

This capsule produced by Shari Brotman, principal investigator of the project (Greater Montreal) presents the main lines of the project as well as the challenges and recommendations resulting from the project in connection with the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CREGÉS Conference : Les expériences des personnes âgées immigrantes.

In this CREGÉS Conference (in French), Julien Simard, project coordinator (Greater Montreal) and Pascual Delgado, project partner (Greater Montreal) share the results of three round tables held in Laval and Montreal.

Publications

Our funders

  • Intersectional Identities and Interlocking Oppressions: The Lived Experiences of Aging Immigrants: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Development Grant (430-2014-00506)
  • Learning from the Lived Experiences of Aging Immigrants: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Connections Grant (611-2018-0254)

Additional funding for local events provided by:

  • Centre for Research and Expertise in Social Gerontology (CREGES)
  • Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research