Thrown in a Different World: The Later Lives of Korean Elderly in an American Nursing Home
- Suh, Eunyoung E.; Park, Yeon Hwan
- Issue Date
- 성인간호학회 = Korean Academy of Adult Nursing
- J Korean Acad Adult Nurs, 19(2), 329-337
- Purpose: Increasing numbers of Koreans have immigrated to the United States since the late 1960s. The first generation of Korean immigrants or their parents become old and institutionalized in American nursing home setting. Although the Korean elders would experience many cultural differences in the nursing home, no study to date has investigated their everyday lives on how they live through their later lives within a different cultural environment from their own.
Methods: Using ethnographic methodology, the purpose of this paper was to illustrate Korean residents experiences and daily lives in a nursing home located in an east coastal city in the U.S. Participant observation, filed notes, semi-structured interviews were utilized by means of data collection. Eighteen Korean residents were observed, and five of them and two nurses participated in informal qualitative interviews.
Results: The overriding theme from the findings is thrown in a different world. Three sub-themes include constant struggles in making themselves understood, dealing with culturally inappropriate nursing care, and maintaining their own ways of life.
Conclusion: The discovered themes reflect culturally isolated lives of the participants and open a venue for designing a culturally congruent nursing care for Korean elders living in the U.S. nursing homes.