Spring 2019 - GERO 411 D100

Special Topics in Gerontology II (3)

Culture, Migration & Aging

Class Number: 7801

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    HCC 2205, Vancouver

  • Prerequisites:

    60 units. Recommended: GERO 300.



Selected psychological, sociological, economic, biological and practical aspects of the aging of individuals and populations.


Canada is experiencing two major demographic shifts by age and ethnicity. Over the next 30 years, the population aged over 65 years is expected to double to almost 25% of Canada’s population. Similarly, the proportions of immigrants and visible minorities will increase sharply, particularly in Canada’s major urban centres. In 2006, one third of Canada’s older adults were immigrants. Most of them came from Europe and had lived here more than 35 years. More recently, however, immigrants are arriving primarily from Asia, and almost half of Toronto’s population is now comprised of ‘visible minorities.’ Younger immigrants often sponsor their parents and will eventually become older adults themselves. Thus the face of Canada’s aging population is changing and the institutions that serve them need to keep pace. The combined influence of culture, migration and racialization on experiences of aging can be profound, but these experiences are also mediated by other markers of identity such as sex, gender roles and socioeconomic status, among others. In this course, we will critically examine the ways in which these intersecting sources of diversity influence the ways in which ethnocultural minority older adults in Canada experience the following:

* Physical and mental health (treatment, prevention, promotion)
* Access to and utilization of services
* Long-term and end-of-life care
* Social support and isolation
* Intergenerational relationships, immigration policies and the generation of dependency
* Civic integration, cultural adaptation and racism
* Elder abuse (causes, treatment, and prevention)

This task requires an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates theoretical insights and methodologies from the social sciences (anthropology, sociology, geography, psychology) and practice-based disciplines such as social work, nursing, and law. An emphasis on the development of a sound theoretical and critical understanding of the research in this area will be balanced by a focus on the practical applications of this knowledge.


This course is designed to enable students to:

1. Describe the patterns of immigration that have contributed to and will contribute to current and future populations of immigrant older adults across Canada.
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which intersections of identity that include culture, migration and racialization influence the experiences of diverse immigrant older adults in multiple domains of their lives in Canada (health, economic wellbeing, housing, giving and receiving care, family dynamics, abuse, service utilization and access and quality of life).
3. Understand and apply theories of aging and diversity to the issues that arise in the research literature on immigrant older adults in order to expand their understanding of social patterns, the causes of inequity and their solutions.
4. Consider the approaches to addressing challenges and overcoming barriers faced by immigrant older adults that are employed by government agencies and community organizations as well as immigrant older adults themselves.
5. Link real-life experiences of immigrant older adults (interview/photovoice exhibit) to theories and academic literature on the topic to expand understanding of observed phenomena.


  • Class prepared assignments 36%
  • Class participation 9%
  • Research paper 30%
  • Poster expo 10%
  • Final exam 15%



Durst, D., & MacLean, M. (Eds.). (2010). Diversity and Aging among Immigrant Seniors in Canada: Changing Faces and Greying Temples. Edmonton, AB: Brush Education.

Registrar Notes:

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