Elderly immigrants find safety net in California

It’s not easy to be an immigrant. New immigrants experience life in a new country, new surroundings, and often a new culture and language.  But moving to a new country can be even harder for seniors, who may have health issues, and may not necessarily have the benefit of employment providing them with social structure.

But one California city is working hard to integrate older immigrants. As reported in the California Health Report, the city of Fremont, adjacent to San Francisco, has found a solution that partners new senior immigrants with local residents from the same ethnic community who can help welcome the newcomer to the city.

Called the Community Ambassador Program for Seniors, or CAPS, Fresno has significantly reduced the levels of depression and social isolation that was present among older immigrants beforehand, according to the news source.

“They (immigrant seniors) were abandoned,” Jagmeet Kaur, an advocate with the city’s Sikh community, said. “They had issues but they didn’t know where to go to.”

Karen Grimsich of Fremont’s Aging and Family Services told the news source that the city’s demographics have changed radically in the last 20 years.

Indeed, twenty years ago, Fremont’s population was predominantly white, and new immigrants from many parts of Asia had fewer opportunities to be integrated into their new home, but today, of the city’s roughly 215,000 residents, about one-quarter is white.

Are you an immigrant? Would you be willing to move to another country in retirement? Tell us about it in the comment section below.