Care and support for elderly labour migrants in Belgium by David Talloen and Olivia Vanmechelen

Our ENIEC-members David Talloen and Olivia Vanmechelen wrote an article in the magazine Geron about care and support for elderly labor migrants in Belgium.

The migrant workers who came to Belgium 40 to 60 years ago from Southern-Europe, Turkey and
Northern Africa have a different social profile as well as different expectations to care. David Talloen and Olivia Vanmechelen describe different factors which can contribute to a better understanding of the migration context and the consequences for the well-being and care of these elderly migrants in Belgium.

First generation elderly migrants in Belgium often have

  • A lower social and financial position
  • Little knowledge of the country’s language
  • Less access to family care
  • Negative privileges towards professional support and care
  • Less knowledge about available services

As a consequence few elderly people rely on residential and home care services. Talloen and
Vanmechelen describe 3 major approaches to make these services more accessible for elderly

  1. Pro-active customized communication focused on elderly migrants Elderly migrants need to be well informed about taking into account their capacities, sensibilities and language skills.
  2. Equality in the relationship between the caregiver and the persons receiving the care
  3. Basic components are important for the caregiver to be able to give good care: knowledge
    (of language, habits, ..), skills (active listening, being able to adapt,..) and attitude (respect,
    empathy, …)
  4. Well-being prevents care

There is a need for leisure activities. It contributes to a better resilience and can create a
network in order to be able to solve other problems.

Talloen, D., & Vanmechelen, O. (2018, juni). Zorg en ondersteuning aan oudere arbeidsmigranten.

You can read the whole article at Geron, pp. 6-9. (Themanummer ‘Zorg en ondersteuning aan oudere arbeidsmigranten)