Health and social service utilization among elderly immigrants from the former Soviet Union

J Nurs Scholarsh. 2001;33(3):265-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1547-5069.2001.00265.x.


Purpose: To explore factors that affect health and social service use among elderly Russian immigrants from the perspectives of the elders, their adult caregiving children, and the health and social service professionals who serve them.

Methods: A qualitative, case-oriented study design was used and 17 elderly Russian immigrants, 8 adult caregiving children, and 15 health professionals were interviewed in the Boston area in 1998. Perceptions about the patterns of and reasons for Russian elders' health and social service use were summarized through content analysis of the interview data.

Findings: Participants across groups perceived extensive service use by elderly Russian immigrants. Life circumstances associated with immigration, cultural norms and beliefs, and structural characteristics of the local Russian immigrant community accounted for service use.

Conclusions: Findings indicate that providing support for depression and loneliness associated with immigration, educating immigrants about the role of primary care providers in the US as well as realistic expectations for American medicine, and managing care to decrease the use of unnecessary services would facilitate appropriate service use among elderly Russian immigrants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Boston
  • Culture*
  • Female
  • Health Services for the Aged / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology*
  • Social Work / statistics & numerical data
  • USSR / ethnology