Age-friendly communities for older migrants in the Netherlands

Objective: This project aims to understand why some communities are more age-friendly than others and what it takes to develop such communities using a mixed methods approach (a combination of quantitative and qualitative research). This project will add to theory building around the concept of age-friendly communities by systematically examining what older people get from community and the conditions under which the realization of well-being is more (or less) likely by using behavioral insight theory. The project will yield unique insights to extent theory, underpin interventions and guide healthcare policy with the ultimate goal to promote age-friendly communities for older immigrants.

Description: As life expectancy increases, an increase in the number of older migrants in the Netherlands will be observed in the future (1). In the multicultural Dutch society the main migrant groups are broken into Turkish, Moroccan and Surinamese individuals for the non-Western migrant group (2) and live mainly in large cities (3). These migrant groups experience a lower level of physical and emotional health compared with the native Dutch population (4-6). In addition, more chronic diseases are reported among these migrant groups in the Netherlands (4). The interrelated relationship between health and well-being results in a lower level of well-being among migrants in the Netherlands (7, 8). 

Older people are likely to be affected by features in their local environment, which might be protective or harmful for their health (9) and well-being (10). Research shows that health (11) and well-being (12) of older individuals who spend a large part of their lives in their neighborhoods is influenced by physical (e.g. outdoor spaces, walkability) and social (e.g. participation, social capital) neighborhood characteristics (13). In addition, as people age their dependency on neighborhood resources has been shown to increase (14) due to retirement, loss of people around them, and a decline in health and function.

Achievement of well-being may be very different in various neighborhoods (15). However, very little is known about older migrants’ ability to achieve well-being in Dutch neighborhoods. Theory about why some neighborhoods are more age-friendly than others and how such age-friendly environments are related to older people’s well-being is lacking, especially for older migrants. Social production function (SPF) theory can be applied to assess the ability of community-dwelling older adults to achieve well-being (16).

Prior research indicated that despite physical well-being was reported substantially lower among Turkish migrants, they reported higher levels of social well-being than natives (17, 18). To date, studies of age-friendly communities have been essentially descriptive (19, 20) and documentation of the effectiveness of age-friendly communities in promoting older individuals’ well-being is lacking. Little is known about why some communities are more age-friendly than others and what the development of such communities requires.

To address the aforementioned gaps in our knowledge, this project aims to understand why some communities are more age-friendly than others and what it takes to develop such communities. We will add to theory building around the concept of age-friendly communities by systematically examining what older people get from a community (SPF theory) and the conditions under which the realization of well-being is more (or less) likely by using behavioral insight theory.

References

  • StatLine, Prognose bevolking; geslacht, leeftijd en migratieactergrond, 2018-2060: Centraal Bureau Statistiek. Available from: https://opendata.cbs.nl/statline/#/CBS/nl/dataset/83784NED/table?ts=1530083674902.
  • Bevolking naar migratie achtergrond: Centraal Bureau Statistiek; 2016. Available from: https://www.cbs.nl/nl-nl/achtergrond/2016/47/bevolking-naar-migratieachtergrond.
  • Bevolking naar migratie achtergrond: Ongelijk verdeeld over Nederland - Interactieve kaart: Centraal Bureau Statistiek. Available from: https://cbsnl.maps.arcgis.com/apps/CompareAnalysis/index.html?appid=e875e33c09774ffd92b9c1f3ac85c17e.
  • Schellingerhout R. Gezondheid en welzijn van allochtone ouderen. Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau. 2004.
  • Solé-Auró A, Crimmins EM. Health of Immigrants in European countries. The International migration review. 2008;42(4):861-76. PubMed PMID: PMC2967040.
  • Uysal O., Health Status of Older Migrants in The Netherlands: Universiteit van Amsterdam; 2016.
  • How's Life? Measuring Well- being. Paris: OECD Publishing; 2017.
  • Dolan P, Peasgood T, White M. Do we really know what makes us happy? A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being. Journal of Economic Psychology. 2008 2008/02/01/;29(1):94-122.
  • Yen IH, Michael YL, Perdue L. Neighborhood Environment in Studies of Health of Older Adults: A Systematic Review. American journal of preventive medicine. 2009;37(5):455-63. PubMed PMID: PMC2785463.
  • Nieboer A, Cramm J. Age-Friendly Communities Matter for Older People’s Well-Being. 2017.
  • Day R. Local environments and older people's health: Dimensions from a comparative qualitative study in Scotland. Health & Place. 2008 2008/06/01/;14(2):299-312.
  • Cramm JM, Møller V, Nieboer AP. Individual- and Neighbourhood-Level Indicators of Subjective Well-Being in a Small and Poor Eastern Cape Township: The Effect of Health, Social Capital, Marital Status, and Income. Social Indicators Research. 2012 February 01;105(3):581-93.
  • Phillips DR, Siu O, Yeh AGO, Cheng K. Ageing and the urban environment2005. 147-63 p.
  • Lecovich E. Aging in place: From theory to practice2014. 21-32 p.
  • Cramm JM, Van Dijk HM, Nieboer AP. The creation of age-friendly environments is especially important to frail older people. Ageing and Society. 2016;38(4):700-20. Epub 12/28.
  • Lindenberg S. Continuities in the theory of social production functions1996. 169-84 p.
  • Nieboer AP, Cramm JM. How do older people achieve well-being? Validation of the Social Production Function Instrument for the level of well-being–short (SPF-ILs). Social Science & Medicine. 2018 2018/08/01/;211:304-13.
  • Denktaş S, Koopmans G, Birnie E, Foets M, Bonsel G. Ethnic background and differences in health care use: a national cross-sectional study of native Dutch and immigrant elderly in the Netherlands. International Journal for Equity in Health. 2009 2009/10/08;8(1):35.
  • Kendig H. Directions in environmental gerontology: a multidisciplinary field. Gerontologist. 2003 Oct;43(5):611-5. PubMed PMID: 14570957. Epub 2003/10/23. eng.
  • Keating N, Eales J, Phillips JE. Age-Friendly Rural Communities: Conceptualizing ‘Best-Fit’. Canadian Journal on Aging / La Revue canadienne du vieillissement. 2013;32(4):319-32. Epub 10/16.

Outcome: PhD thesis (5/6 papers)

Involved Researchers & Departments:

  •  Warsha Jagroep (PhD candidate), Dr. Jane Cramm & Prof.dr Anna Petra Nieboer - Socio-Medical Sciences, ESHPM
  •  Prof.dr Semiha Denktas - Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Contact Info: Warsha Jagroep, jagroep@eshpm.eur.nl

Countries Involved: Netherlands

Funding: EUR initiative