Migrants’ perceptions of aging in Denmark and attitudes towards remigration: findings from a qualitative study

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

The increasing number of elderly migrants in Europe poses challenges for the organisation of healthcare and social services if these migrants do not remigrate to their countries of birth at old age. More insight into perceptions of aging among migrant women is needed to inform service delivery for culturally and linguistic diverse populations, yet few studies have explored this field. The aim of this study is to explore perceptions of aging among middle-aged migrant women, with emphasis on identifying factors shaping their decisions on whether to remigrate or stay in Denmark during old age.

The study is based on 14 semi-structured interviews including a total of 29 migrant women residing in Copenhagen, Denmark. The women were born in Somalia, Turkey, India, Iran, Pakistan, or Middle Eastern countries. The majority of participants were middle-aged and had one or more chronic illnesses. The analysis was inspired by phenomenological methods and guided by theory on access to services, social relations, and belonging.

The results showed that the existence of chronic conditions requiring frequent use of medical care and the availability of high-quality healthcare in Denmark were important factors for the decision to spend one’s old age in Denmark rather than to remigrate to one’s country of origin. Similarly, availability of social services providing financial and tangible support for the elderly was perceived to be important during old age. For these middle-aged women, social ties to children and grandchildren in Denmark and feelings of belonging further nourished a wish to stay in Denmark rather than remigrating.

Since the study suggests that elderly migrants will be utilising healthcare and social services in Denmark rather than returning to their countries of birth, these services should prepare for increased cultural and linguistic diversity among users. This could entail provision of translators, specific outreach programmes, and culturally adapted services to meet elderly from diverse linguistic, religious, and cultural backgrounds.
TidsskriftB M C Health Services Research
Sider (fra-til)1-12
Antal sider12
StatusUdgivet - 7 jun. 2015

ID: 138814146