Monday, August 31, 2009
The Elderly Immigrant
The fastest growing segment of the immigrant population are seniors. They make up more than a tenth of the immigrant population. Not many of them are undocumented, save for those who have come earlier and have aged here. Most have come legally, brought here by children for family unification. They have made a lesser impression on the public than young immigrants who may be sucked into gangs or who overcrowded schools. But attention is now turning to their problems. (See New York Times article.) Older immigrants often come unprepared for the new society. They do not know the language and lack skills -- like driving -- needed in an urban society. They often have a self-imposed isolation or live in "ethnoburbs" . As a consequence many are suffering from loneliness and depression. Since they have limited access to health care and social services, many of their physical and mental ailments go untracked and unmet.