Special Issue on “Aging and Migration in Europe” just appeared in GeroPsych – The Journal of Gerontopsychology and Geriatric Psychiatry
Europe is experiencing demographic and social challenges unprecedented in its history. Migration flows, though not a new phenomenon, represent one of these challenges. Migration as the movement of social and national groups within as well as into Europe includes several motivations and objectives. Depending on these motivations, migrants are considered as welcome asset or as not-wanted claiming benefits of the national social security systems.
What can we learn from earlier migration waves? Currently, a large number of first-generation immigrants of the big immigration waves of the 1960s and 1970s are approaching retirement age in many European countries. Contrary to earlier expectations, studies have shown that only a part of these aging migrants return to their countries of origin after retirement, whereas a larger part decides to stay permanently in the receiving country or to commute between both countries. Growing old in the context of migration has thus become a hot topic for many societies.
Based on research from several European countries with large shares of immigrants, namely UK, Estonia, Denmark and Luxembourg, the special issue aging and migration focuses on some key questions regarding aging migrants. For instance, what do we know about cultural and ethnic identities of older migrants and how these are related to their transnational family relationships? How can social networks and intergenerational family solidarity of older migrants be described? What are specifics of care in the context of acculturation? The present contributions give some first answers to these questions, taking also into account how subjective well-being of aging migrants and their families might be enhanced.