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CASE STUDY: An Older Immigrant Couple: Mr. and Mrs. Arahan

Mr. and Mrs. Arahan, an older couple in their seventies, have been living with their oldest daughter, her husband of 15 years, and their two children, ages 12 and 14. They all live in a middle-income neighborhood in a suburb of a metropolitan city. Mr. and Mrs. Arahan are both college educated and worked full-time while they were in their native country. In addition, Mr. Arahan, the only offspring of wealthy parents, inherited a substantial amount of money and real estate. Their daughter came to the United States as a registered nurse and met her husband, a drug company representative. The older couple moved to the United States when their daughter became a U.S. citizen and petitioned them as immigrants. Since the couple was facing retirement, they welcomed the opportunity to come to the United States.

The Arahans found life in the United States different from that in their home country, but their adjustment was not as difficult because both were healthy and spoke English fluently. Most of their time was spent taking care of their two grandchildren and the house. As the grandchildren grew older, the older couple found that they had more spare time. The daughter and her husband advanced in their careers and spent a great deal more time at their jobs. There were few family dinners during the week. On weekends, the daughter, her husband, and their children socialized with their own friends. The couple began to feel isolated and longed for a more active life.

Mr. and Mrs. Arahan began to think that perhaps they should return to the home country, where they still had relatives and friends. However, political and economic issues would have made it difficult for them to live there. Besides, they had become accustomed to the way of life in the United States with all the modern conveniences and abundance of goods that were difficult to obtain in their country. However, they also became concerned that they might not be able to tolerate the winter months and that minor health problems might worsen as they aged. They wondered who would take care of them if they became very frail and where they would live, knowing that their daughter had only saved money for their grandchildren's college education. They expressed their sentiments to their daughter, who became very concerned about how her parents were feeling.

This older couple had been attending church on a regular basis, but had never been active in other church-related activities. The church bulletin announced the establishment of parish nursing with two retired registered nurses as volunteers. The couple attended the first opening of the parish clinic. Here, they met one of the registered nurses, who had a short discussion with them about the services offered. The registered nurse had spent a great deal of her working years as a community health nurse. She informed Mr. and Mrs. Arahan of her availability to help them resolve any health-related issues.

Reflective Questions

  • 1.What strategies could be suggested for this older adult couple to enhance their quality of life?
  • 2.What community resources can they utilize?
  • 3.What can the daughter and her family do to address the feelings of isolation of the older couple?
  • 4.What health promotion activities can ensure a healthy lifestyle for them?

Answer & Explanation
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