Do immigrants really have better health than Canadian-born older adults?

  1. Make a pairing. We know from activity coaches and previous studies that lack of self-discipline and motivation are barriers to engaging in physical activity (Dergance, Calmbach, Dhanda, Miles, Hazuda & Mouton, 2003). Through one-on-one consultations, activity coaches understand the older adult’s needs and pairs those with similar interests together. Having someone to engage in physical activity together acts as a source of accountability.
  2. Culturally appropriate opportunities. Culturally inappropriate opportunities and language barriers deter older adults from engaging in physical activity. Unsurprisingly, it is difficult to engage in an activity where you do not feel connected or have a challenge understanding others. Activity coaches help older adults to navigate and find activities and facilities that are both culturally appropriate and offer a language they speak.
  3. Familiarize spaces. Formal establishments geared towards physical activity and recreation, such as community centres, may be known to immigrant older adults but the services offered may not. To overcome this barrier, an activity coach provided a tour of the local community centre. This approach can help immigrant older adults familiarize themselves with the space and show them what’s available within the facility.

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Active Aging Research Team @ UBC

Active Aging Research Team @ UBC

Empowering people to live independent, active and connected lives as they age. Community-based research and evaluation team at University of British Columbia.