Transcultural Concepts in Nursing Care

Evidence-Based Practice 11-4

What Matters Most to Older Chinese Adults

where they sought information. One participant played mah-jongg (a traditional Chinese game) every night on her laptop. An older gentleman described how he watched Chinese media to learn the daily news. English-speaking media was used to “learn English.” Participants spoke of seeking a balance between Eastern cultural attachments while living in Western living arrangements as the participants lived in their own dwellings away from their grown children. They sought support from their grown children as needed. Theme Two: Making the Best Out of Life Participants were resilient in making the best of their circumstances. As their lives unfolded, they made meaning of their circumstances and events through cultural philosophies. The philosophy of the “Five Olds” refers to the importance of hav ing money, a partner/spouse, friends, a home, and health in one’s life. This included having an “old partner” so spouses can take care of each other. Old people must have a healthy body and an “old home” or a place to live as well as “old money” and “old friends.” Theme Three: We Take Care of Each Other This theme shows the participants’ appreciation of relationships and social support networks. The strength of the spousal relation was especially valued and having connections with neighbors contributed to a sense of safety, assistance, and support when needed. Theme Four: The Need to Understand This theme refers to the desire for knowledge, learning, and growth that provides a foundation for surviving and thriving within a new country. Some participants spoke of how Canada’s government helped new immigrants adjust to their new envi ronment. Others related that they had attended seminars to learn how to prepare their taxes and in general took opportunities to learn new things. One woman expressed a desire to “try things that she

Challenges are faced by older Chinese adults as newcomers or immigrants to North America, spe cifically Canada. Using interpretive description and phenomenology methods, the authors explored the lived experience of older Chinese adults over the age of 70, in two Canadian cities. The main purpose of this study was to explore what matters to Chinese older adults in relation to well-being, quality of life, and life satisfaction. Eleven participants were interviewed for this study. All self identified as having Chinese heritage, were age 70 or older, and lived independently in a Canadian city. Interviews were conducted in either Mandarin or Cantonese, questions were presented to the par ticipants in advance, and efforts were undertaken to ensure that the interview’s content was correctly interpreted. A core theme and four categorical themes were identified from the data analysis. Core Theme: Cultural Foundations Participants identified the importance of their culture and often referred to ways they had lived before immigrating to Canada. Cultural foundations included dietary preferences and lifestyle choices that bring comfort, family values, and general “ways of being” with others. This core theme informs the findings of the study. This theme explains the complexity of Chinese older adults integrating everyday activities into their lives in Canada. The language gap addresses the impact of English as an additional language on a sense of control and confidence in making every day life decisions. One woman was concerned because the language gap in health needs pre vented her from saying the English term for her illness. She wondered how she could discuss her health problem with health professionals because she could not say it. Having culturally congruent activities in their daily life was important to the participants as they chose activities to participate in and informed Theme One: It’s the Little Things That Matter

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