Read the Ethnic Elders and the Community Transcript
Giang: ...The culture clash can lead to pretty important mental health problems for these older...
Robert: What would be an example of something like that?
Giang: For older immigrants who may be linguistically isolated and also have a lot of cultural differences, what we have seen is that they end up becoming childcare for their grandchildren, and they often don't drive. The older you are when emigrate here, the less likely you are to drive. So they become prisoners of their own home and they don't become really involved in their communities because they're stuck at home taking care of grandkids, who may or may not speak the language that they speak. So here they are taking care of people that they can't really communicate with and they're also sort of shut off from the broader community. And in some of my work with Southeast Asian immigrants in Philadelphia, we found that these elders are really eager to get involved in their communities and when they're given the opportunities to go out and participate in after-school programs or participate in community cleanup days and things like this, they really enjoy it. But if no one reaches out to them and provides that opportunity, it's a great missed opportunity.
Robert: So there has to be community organizing on that basis.
Melvin: You touch upon an important point. And that's the whole issue of civic engagement in that a lot of times we think of volunteers in this country as basically a certain monolithic group who tend to be white, well-to-do. But there are a lot of older adults in Latino communities of color that can volunteer and want to be engaged. But somehow agencies don't think of them as a resource for volunteering, yet they have a tremendous amount to contribute.