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NL Chernett, Jefferson School of Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA.


The purpose of this study was to identify the areas of life that cause resettled elderly refugees to experience stress and determine the types of programs they need to improve their quality of life. A convenience sample of 6 Iraqi and 6 Bhutanese refugees age 60 and above, who had been resettled in the past 3 years, were interviewed in their homes in Philadelphia. The interviewer explored five domains: 1) demographics; 2) health and functional status; 3) social roles and activities; 4) sources of stress since immigrating to the U.S; and 5) knowledge of and access to programs for seniors. A priori themes were determined before the interviews took place, and thematic analysis was conducted following the interviews. Language barriers, difficulty managing health conditions, and mobility emerged as the most significant problems amongst participants. Investigators determined that these challenges lead to two larger, overarching issues, including chronic dependency on family members and social isolation. Based on participants’ responses, key informant interviews, and previous research, recommendations for resettlement agencies include community-based services, such as a senior center for regular programming, the specialization of ESL and health education classes, and the use of community health workers. Immediate next steps should involve the strengthening of partnerships between resettlement agencies and the aging services network in Philadelphia, cultural competence training for providers, and future research involving the caregivers of elderly refugees.

Presentation: 21 minutes