Learning from the lived experiences of aging immigrants


  • Sharon Koehn
    Centre for Healthy Aging / Simon Fraser University
  • Kahir Lalji
    United Way of the Lower Mainland

Team members:

  • James Broesch
    Vancouver Coastal Health
  • Shari Brotman
    McGill University
  • Ilyan Ferrer
    University of Calgary
  • Krista James 
    BC Law Institute
  • Anthony Kupferschmidt
    West End Senior's Network


  • Laura Kadowaki
    PhD student

The research project — Intersectional identities and interlocking oppressions: Stories of the everyday among ethnocultural older adults in Canada — collected in-depth life stories and photographs from 19 immigrant older adults in British Columbia (BC) and Quebec. Participants are from immigrant populations (Korean, Filipino, Latin American, Caribbean, Afghani and Pakistani) where little research has been done in Canada, but have diverse backgrounds and journeys, and who have been marginalized. As a result of this project, a narrative photovoice exhibit has been made. The Lived Experiences of Aging Immigrants — presents both their challenges (e.g. trauma, discrimination, poverty, family disruption) and celebrations (e.g. building community, caring for family, faith, resilience). A key aim of the exhibit is to encourage knowledge exchange with service providers and policymakers.

This award will enable the team to present the exhibit to groups who are capable of making or influencing changes at the policy, practice and community level, and who can positively influence the determinants of health and aging for older immigrant adults.

The exhibit will be mounted in different spaces convenient to target groups, and will be a springboard for facilitated discussions where stakeholders will be encouraged to identify and prioritize the actions they can take to effect this change within their spheres of influence. For example, these groups may include senior peer support volunteers, population/community health specialists charged with delivering health promotion programs, or seniors rights advocates who lobby for changes to determinants of health such as housing and transportation. The discussions will encourage participants to take ownership of the initiatives they recommend. Research user team members served as advisory group members on the Intersectional identities project and are strategically situated in health and seniors care contexts in BC. They will identify and facilitate engagement with relevant groups. The Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia will be engaged to organize and facilitate 10 such events. They will further work with this team to distill and prioritize feedback from all groups into clear recommendations. A final report and policy briefs directed at specific audiences will be generated.