Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 409–424 | Cite as

Cultural Perceptions of Aging: The Perspective of Somali Canadians in Ottawa

  • Martine Lagacé
  • Houssein Charmarkeh
  • Florian Grandena


Somalis currently constitute the largest Sub-Saharan community in Canada and as such have greatly contributed to the transformation of the immigrant population of this country. Although there is a growing body of research on the Somali community in Canada, the question of how the first generation of Somali Canadians experiences aging and transmits its values and attitudes in this regard to younger generations has yet to be explored. The goal of the present study is precisely to understand how male and female Somali seniors living in Canada perceive and experience aging from a cross-cultural perspective. A total of 17 Somali elders (9 women and 8 men) took part in two focus group discussions. Results of the interpretative content analysis revealed that, regardless of the cultural context, both Somali men and women foster quite a positive view of the notion of aging. However, as Somali migrants, men were more critical than women in regards to the challenges of aging in Canada. Results are discussed in light of previous studies on aging, ageism and culture.


Somali community Immigration Aging Ageism Stereotypes Focus groups 



We would like to acknowledge the contributions of Dr. Mohamed Nuuh and Mrs. Sahra Habbane to this research, specifically their perseverance, inspiration and leadership in the Somali community. Special mentions go to Sarah Robichaud, from the Department of Communication and Dr. Joelle Laplante from the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa for their valuable contribution.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martine Lagacé
    • 1
  • Houssein Charmarkeh
    • 1
  • Florian Grandena
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OttawaOttawaCanada

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