Older migrants

Yoshua Giri

What are we researching?

Within the theme of Older Migrants, we investigate how various groups of migrants experience their old age. Central themes include 'loneliness', 'family solidarity’ and 'culture-specific care'. Questions we address in our research include:

  • What general and migrant-specific risk factors play a role in loneliness among older migrants?
  • What are the effects of migration on family relationships, both within the family in the country of residence and with the family members left behind in the country of origin?
  • What is needed to make care more responsive to the needs and wishes of older migrants?

Why are we doing this research?

Scientific research on older adults with a migration background is still remarkably scarce. While this group is becoming increasingly diverse (e.g. older refugees and North-Western European retirement migrants moving to warmer places), it mainly focuses on former guest workers from Morocco and Turkey and their descendants. Moreover, many studies focus one-sidedly on the higher vulnerability of this group. As a result, there is a risk that we problematise the entire group of older migrants and overlook differences within this group. In addition, we see that issues in the social and welfare domain are underexposed.

How are we doing this research?

Our research group makes use of both quantitative and qualitative research methods.

How does our research make an impact?

We play a leading role in research on older adults with a migration background both nationally and internationally. In addition to many collaborations and publications with (inter)national researchers, Tineke Fokkema has been guest editor of special issues in renowned journals (Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Tijdschrift voor Gerontologie en Geriatrie, Ageing & Society, European Journal of Ageing). She is also the coordinator of the IMISCOE Standing Committee on Older Migrants. Furthermore, Fokkema is regularly asked to participate in advisory and guidance committees of (inter)national research projects concerning older migrants.

Because the research themes are topical and socially relevant, Fokkema is often asked to give lectures for (health and welfare) organisations and municipalities. She is regularly interviewed for newspapers, social media, or radio and TV. Fokkema is a member of committees, steering groups, and platforms in which scientists and colleagues from the field are represented within our research group. She is a member of the Advisory Committee 'United against Loneliness' that advises the Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) on strategies against loneliness. She is a member of the steering group 'Guideline culture-specific care', which will be developed by the Network of Organisations of Older Migrants (NOOM) on behalf of VWS. And she is an expert for 'ZorgSaamWonen', a national platform for social issues in the field of housing, care and welfare.

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