Assimilation as a senior citizen

We are in the middle of processing the green card for my husband’s parents and having them immigrate to U.S. from India.  They have visited us several times and have spent 6 months at a time living with us.  I think that during their visits with us, they were very comfortable, had lots of fun and enjoyed the family time that we hardly ever get to spend with them while we visit them in India.  However, towards the end of the six months, they always looked forward to “going home”.   

Although Pappa drove in Bombay for many many years, he has stopped driving since last few years and does not envision himself driving here in U.S.  Mom has always been stay-at-home and is the most patient, content person I have known.  They have been living independently all their lives and have been on their own for more than a decade.  When they come here to U.S., they will be completely dependent on us.  Since there is no public transportation in the city/suburb that we live in, they will not even be able to go out without one of us driving them there.   And while they have visited us during the winters,  they definitely dread having to live through the cold winters here.  Although I look forward to having our family under one roof,  I sometimes feel that it is going to be much harder transition/assimilation.  

I came across this article in NY times that I think is apt. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/31/us/31elder.html?_r=1&hp

Have any of your parents immigrated here?  What do you think we can do to ease their assimilation?  Please do share your stories.

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3 Comments

  1. Khushi

    I can see my parents going through this one day. A very good topic for our community.

  2. Anonymous

    Hi Mahi, very timely post for us as I am deciding. We are thinking of going back to India instead of bringing parents here. In my experience, assimilation means a lot of sacrifice for them – mainly the sacrifice of their freedom. They are totally dependent. Their lives are wrapped around your lives. Is this something I would love I think? Then the other side – kids adjusted here, good career here, my life is much better. A tough decision.

  3. Dora

    Hi Mahi – this is what I heard from friends –
    1. You can start with 6 months here and 6 months in India. It is really difficult for them to totally give up their lives and begin one here. And become completely dependent. So that may be a happy medium
    2.Get them volunteer jobs
    3.Let them drive at least to non highway locations, sp your dad in law (school pickup etc). Chauffering is often a flare point.
    4. Enroll them in evening classes at community center

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