Older migrants, just like Dutch elderly people, prefer to live on their own for as long as possible, especially and preferably in their current house in their own neighbourhood, which is familiar and where they feel at ease. Once their health stops allowing them to do this, they tend to have specific needs in the area of housing and care. But which preferences do they usually have? And what are the possibilities? Yvonne Witter, advisor of the knowlegde center on housing and care (KCWZ) and Tineke Fokkema, researcher at the national demographic institute of the Netherlands (NIDI) outline the developments of the last 25 years.
In 1991, 42.244 people that passed the age of 55 and lived in the Netherlands were of non-Western descent. That was a relatively small group: it only included 1,3 percent of all people aged 55 and over. Nowadays approximately 291.000 non-Western migrants live in the Netherlands and this number will most likely increase to more than 839.000 in the year of 2045. Older migrants are a disadvantaged group in the Netherlands, in several fields, such as housing, income and health.
Older migrants also like to continue living in their familiar environment and their normal homes. During the last few decades, the amount of information about initiatives that make staying home for longer possible for the older migrants, increased in dribs and drabs. More small, multi-cultural services arrive in their neighbourhood, thanks to civil initiatives. Particular initiative from within the migrant community usually starts with the realisation of cultural specific housing facilities or departments. Both finding a suitable location and sufficient funding tends to be a bottleneck, just like having the proper network for actually doing things like this. This also applies for initiatives for different target groups, but older migrants are often faced with problems such as language and cultural barriers. Thanks to key members in the migrant communities a lot of initiatives succeed, but this requires lots of time and patience.
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