Growing old in exile – a longitudinal study of migrant women from Turkey

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Some studies on migrants and ageing focus on the question of return; others focus on how migrants, who grow old in their countries of destination, ‘age in place’, including whether they turn to their children or to public host country provisions for care and support. However, the issues of return and of ageing in place may both hold significance in individual migrants’ lives. To investigate the changing expectations of old age throughout the life course, this paper draws on longitudinal interviews with migrant women from Turkey who live in Denmark. We focus on the function of proximity to children. Using two women who were interviewed three times over three decades as case studies, the analysis shows that in the middle of life, the women share expectations of returning to Turkey, but these plans are perpetually postponed. As the women age, they must face their inability to leave their children behind–and hence that they will never return. This realisation brings to the fore the issue of where these women are to turn for care and support–a potentially difficult choice from which the former expectations of return had shielded them.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)287-302
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2017

    Research areas

  • longitudinal interviews, older migrants, Return migration, Turkish migrants

ID: 196257750