Viewing oneself as a capable person – experiences of professionals working with older Finnish immigrants

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The increasing number of older persons and the corresponding need for healthcare creates challenges for the future delivery of these services 1. An additional challenge is the increasing number of persons ageing in the context of migration 2. A person who lives in a migration context can be defined as immigrant, which refers to a person who has come to live permanently in a foreign country 4.
Research indicates that older immigrants are frail since they have a weaker health status than their native‐born peers. Health status is influenced by the migration process itself, the loss of relatives, financial pressures and language difficulties 5. Frailty is defined as a state of decreased resistance to stressors, as a result of decline in several physiological functions 8. These issues, frailty and the immigration process represent a double burden for older immigrants 9. Health promotion interventions can be regarded as a way to meet the challenge and to maintain and restore functional capacity and increase social participation and independence among vulnerable groups 8. According to Shriven 10, health promotion interventions are all planned activities which are designed to improve health, including services, which can be seen as a support for maintaining health in everyday life. The intervention can be seen as a process which empowers persons to take active control of their health status. It is largely about the living conditions that shape people's everyday lives, including the resources that the individual possesses, as well as the norms and values in society 11. When implementing health promotion, healthcare professionals are a crucial part of the process 12. Research indicates positive outcomes of health promotion interventions for older persons 13. Gustavsson et al. 14 found that interventions for older persons who are at risk for becoming frail can slow down the decline in ADL activities and self‐rated health. However, much of the research focus on interventions for native‐born older persons rather than interventions for older persons within the migration context 15 or how to utilise professionals’ experiences of health promotion work with older immigrants 17. Such knowledge can be used to develop health promotion interventions where the starting point is what older immigrants perceive as important health issues in daily life. Therefore, to address this knowledge gap, it is crucial to explore the experiences professionals have regarding older immigrants’ health in the context of their daily lives. Their experiences of working with a specific target group are valuable in the development of targeted health promotion interventions. In this study, we focused on professionals working with immigrants from Finland, because Finns constitutes 31% of all older immigrants in Sweden 18. Exploring healthcare professionals’ experience about health in the context daily life among older immigrants from Finland creates opportunities to make adaptations to interventions, enabling the specific needs of this target group to be considered. The present study is therefore aimed to explore healthcare professionals’ experiences of health in the context of daily life among older Finnish immigrants in Sweden.
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