Because Ethiopian culture favors and prioritizes family time and community, adjusting to American culture’s fetish for individuality comes as quite a shock. In addition, should an Ethiopian be so lucky to travel to or with their family, it is often that landlords won’t lease to a larger group of people, or landlords will increase the rent tenfold.
“For seniors, it’s not that easy to try to manage through translators,” Wase said, “It becomes doubly difficult in an unfamiliar city in which they cannot communicate.”
Public transportation is also a problem for seniors, who often get lost when on foot. Another frequent symptom of adjustment: Anxiety, Wase explained, due to lost social status, loneliness, unplanned departures, and stress.
“They see the need to go to places like worship,” he said. “Instead, they choose to stay home. It makes their life worse. Why? Because, after awhile, they get depressed.”