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Social isolation and loneliness among immigrant and refugee seniors in Canada: a scoping review

Shanthi Johnson (School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)
Juanita Bacsu (Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies, University of Regina, Regina, Canada)
Tom McIntosh (Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Regina, Regina, Canada)
Bonnie Jeffery (Faculty of Social Work, University of Regina, Prince Albert, Canada)
Nuelle Novik (Faculty of Social Work, University of Regina, Regina, Canada)

International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care

ISSN: 1747-9894

Article publication date: 12 September 2019

Issue publication date: 12 September 2019

3709

Abstract

Purpose

Social isolation and loneliness are global issues experienced by many seniors, especially immigrant and refugee seniors. Guided by the five-stage methodological framework proposed by Arksey and O’Malley and more recently Levac, Colquhoun and O’Brien, the purpose of this paper is to explore the existing literature on social isolation and loneliness among immigrant and refugee seniors in Canada.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted a literature search of several databases including: PubMed; MEDLINE; CINAHL; Web of Science; HealthStar Ovid; PschyInfo Ovid; Social Services Abstracts; AgeLine; Public Health Database, Google Scholar and Cochrane Library. In total, 17 articles met the inclusion criteria.

Findings

Based on the current literature five themes related to social isolation and loneliness emerged: loss; living arrangements; dependency; barriers and challenges; and family conflict.

Research limitations/implications

Given the increasing demographic of aging immigrants in Canada, it is useful to highlight existing knowledge on social isolation and loneliness to facilitate research, policy and programs to support this growing population.

Practical implications

The population is aging around the world and it is also becoming increasingly diverse particularly in the high-income country context. Understanding and addressing social isolation is important for immigrant and refugee seniors, given the sociocultural and other differences.

Social implications

Social isolation is a waste of human resource and value created by seniors in the communities.

Originality/value

The paper makes a unique contribution by focusing on immigrant and refugee seniors.

Keywords

Citation

Johnson, S., Bacsu, J., McIntosh, T., Jeffery, B. and Novik, N. (2019), "Social isolation and loneliness among immigrant and refugee seniors in Canada: a scoping review", International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 177-190. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMHSC-10-2018-0067

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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