Aging Out-of-Place: Perceptions of Successful Aging Among Aging Burundian Refugees in the US

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Peer-Reviewed Article

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Background and objectives: Refugees flee their home countries due to life threatening situations and are resettled to countries such as the United States (US). For older refugees, their cultural background and forced migration experience may impact how they perceive successful aging in their host countries. As such, it is important to understand how aging refugees perceive aging well in order to enhance their well-being in the host communities. Thus, the present study explores perceptions of successful aging among refugees in the US.

Research design and methods: Twenty-one Burundian refugees, aged 50-67, were recruited from an upper Midwest community to participate in interviews on their perceptions of successful aging. The qualitative interviews were analyzed using thematic content analysis.

Results: Emergent themes showed that aging refugees' perceptions of successful aging were in some ways consistent with perceptions among other non-refugee aging populations, such as perceptions related to physical functioning and health. Yet, in many ways refugees' unique background and experiences seemed to lead to unique aging perceptions, such as perceiving an earlier onset of aging and expressing surprise and appreciation to experience old age.

Discussion and implications: Study findings suggest important future directions and potential implications for refugee host regions and communities on how they can better support aging refugees as well as develop effective interventions to promote well-being.


Online ahead of print, Feb. 14, 2023



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