Older people within transnational families: The social policy implications

University of York, UK
International Journal of Social Welfare (Impact Factor: 0.54). 07/2008; 18(3):243 - 251. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2397.2008.00600.x


Given that more people ‘permanently’ migrate today than in the past, migration has taken on a heightened profile internationally. Such mobility raises fundamental social policy questions of entitlement and (re)negotiation of caregiving obligations and arrangements. Social policy has traditionally approached problems and developed responses within the confines of the nation-state and faces difficulties in recognising and addressing issues arising from mobility. Migration contributes to family being ‘stretched’ beyond national boundaries to become dispersed, global or transnational families. This article focuses attention on one dimension of transnational living – older people as members of transnational families. The combination of increasing population mobility and the elongation of new post-retirement life-stages is resulting in a set of pressing social policy issues. It explores immigration, pension eligibility and portability, and social services and caregiving issues. To illustrate these issues the article draws on New Zealand's diverse transnational family forms and experience.

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    • "The received products not only reminded the participants of their home place, but also of the people at home, who sent them their favourite products as a symbol of their love. Our participants lived in transnational families between the Netherlands and the Antilles (see also Lunt 2009), and experience their lives as linked with those of other family members. Important decisions, such as migration, are supported by other family members, and seen as relational achievements (see Hörschelmann 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: A group of 141,345 immigrants from the Netherlands Antilles, a former colony, live in the Netherlands. An increasing number of these migrants are at or above retirement age, and for them, the question of where they want to grow old becomes relevant. It is important for people to age in a place where they feel at home, as attachment to place increases wellbeing in old age. In this article we discuss how older Antillean migrants in the Netherlands make their house and immediate living environment into a home. We focus on home-making practices in a broader cultural context, and in relation to wellbeing. These topics are addressed by drawing on qualitative life-history interviews with Antillean older people, who live in a co-housing community for older adults. It turns out that objects which remind the participants of their home country play an important role in making a home. Also, the community, with people from similar backgrounds, contributes to a sense of home. Finally, the presence of children and other family members is a key motivation for the participants' decision to age in the Netherlands.
    Ageing and Society 05/2014; 34(5):859-875. DOI:10.1017/S0144686X12001377 · 1.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Historically, South Asian families lived in patrilocal, multi-generational households. Such arrangements are often unsettled by international migration and transnationalism where migrants cannot always determine for themselves who constitutes their family (Burholt 2004; Lunt 2009). Family reunification migration streams often include elderly members who relocate to be near their children. "
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    ABSTRACT: The US older population is growing in ethnic diversity. Persistent ethnic disparities in service use among seniors are linked to structural barriers to access, and also to family processes such as cultural preferences and intergenerational relations. There is sparse information on the latter issue for immigrant ethnic minority seniors. Information on the Asian group (the fastest growing senior sub-population) is extremely scarce, due to this group's diversity in national, linguistic, and cultural origins. We conducted a qualitative study among community-dwelling Asian Indian families (including at least one member aged 60 years and older) in North Carolina to examine preferences of seniors and the midlife generation regarding elder care, and the role of intergenerational relations in desired care for elders, exploring the theoretical perspective of intergenerational relationship ambivalence. Our results suggest that cultural preferences, ambivalence in intergenerational relations, and regulations on health service eligibility among immigrant/transnational seniors and midlife adults influence preferences for elder care.
    Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology 12/2013; 29(1). DOI:10.1007/s10823-013-9220-7
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    • "In this situation social service staff may have to communicate with relatives outside national borders in order to keep them informed and involved. Lunt (2009: 249) states that wealth makes a difference to the opportunities of children to make regular extended visits to their parents. Visiting is further constrained by possible limitations imposed by governments and employers. "
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    ABSTRACT: Emigration and immigration are phenomena as old as history but the accelerating globalisation has made international migration visibly present in practically all nations and regions, bringing with it global and local social transformations as well as novel challenges for national welfare states. While both migration and welfare states have been popular research topics for a long time, the same cannot be said about their intersection. In particular, discussions concerning patterns of migration in connection to patterns of care have gained researchers’ attention only within the last ten years. This article aims to outline the different ways how the two major social issues of migration and care are, particularly under the ongoing worldwide ageing of the population, closely interrelated and argue for an analysis that focuses simultaneously on both. Migrating people are not just labour force. They have lives and families of their own. Migration touches more and more families all over the globe and all of them are faced by questions concerning care: when migration separates family members geographically from one another, how can care and support be provided and maintained for those who need it, that is, children as well as older and/or disabled family members? It has even been said that care is a pivotal issue in both affecting the decision to migrate and in shaping transnational life. Skilled migrating professionals are often better resourced to arrange care for their family members than less skilled labour migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Many families find themselves in situations where, despite of difficulties, it is necessary to provide ‘transnational care’, that is, care for family members across national borders. Absence of the members of working age generations is especially problematic in societies where the care of children, disabled and older persons depends mainly on the family and public systems for care are not available.
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