Senior immigrants often face significant challenges when settling into Canada. Many struggle with language barriers, mobility issues, and feelings of isolation. They may rely heavily on their adult children who sponsored them to come to Canada, but this can lead to feelings of being taken advantage of, such as being overused for babysitting. Additionally, some may feel disconnected from their children and grandchildren as they adapt to Canadian society.
However, there is good news. Many elderly immigrants find comfort in connecting with others who are in similar positions. They often organize events or meetings tailored to their age group or ethnic background. For instance, in Vancouver, a group of retired Russian people runs a chess club that hosts weekly tournaments. To find similar groups and programs, seniors can turn to their local ethnic newspapers or immigrant settlement agencies. These resources offer a variety of activities, ranging from outdoor outings to weekly dance classes to English lessons.
It is crucial for senior immigrants to actively engage with their community and explore all that Canada has to offer. By doing so, they can enhance their quality of life and find a sense of belonging in their new home.
Tips for senior immigrants to make the most of living in Canada:
- Learn the language: Learning English or French can help senior immigrants communicate with locals, make friends, and feel more comfortable in their new home.
- Get involved in the community: Joining community groups, volunteering, and attending local events can help senior immigrants meet new people and learn about Canadian culture.
- Go to settlement organisations to receive free assistance in accessing services designed for seniors.
- Get to know seniors from outside your ethnicity.
- Go for walks in your neighbourhood and get to know the area; learn how to take public transportation or call a taxi.
- Explore the city: Canada has many diverse cities and attractions. Exploring the city can help senior immigrants discover all it has to offer.
- Stay active: Canada has many opportunities for seniors to stay active, such as senior centers, walking groups, and fitness classes. Staying active can help senior immigrants maintain their physical and mental health.
- Stay connected with family and friends: If senior immigrants have family and friends back in their home country, staying connected with them through phone calls, video chats, and social media can help them feel less isolated.
- Know their rights: It’s important for senior immigrants to know their rights and the services available to them in Canada. This includes healthcare, housing, and financial support.
- Embrace Canadian culture: Embracing Canadian culture while also maintaining their own cultural identity can help senior immigrants feel more connected to their new home.
- Be understanding of your children and grandchildren about their changing roles and expectations living in Canada.