by Yvonne Witter
‘We are worried about the care of older migrants’, says Bouchaib Saadane, chairman of NOOM, the national organization of networks of older migrants during the national conference of NOOM that was held on the 22nd of September in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Care of older migrants is one of the topics that NOOM deals with. NOOM has achieved a lot of success during the past years. He is thankful for the contribution of a lot of volunteers and he is happy with the great collaboration with other senior organizations like KBO-PCOB and NVOG . ‘But the amount of older migrants is increasing and their position has to improve.’ The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports recently concluded a Pact: an agreement for the elderly care. A lot of organizations participate. NOOM is one of those participants. With this deal, the ministry wants to prevent loneliness among the elderly, simprove the quality of care in nursing homes and improve domestic care and provide better care for people who live independently in their own homes. However, diversity is not explicitly mentioned in the agreement. Hence, it is important that the voice of older migrants will be heard. NOOM will inform the older migrants about the Pact so they are able to participate at a local level.
Besides the pact, there is more needed to diminish the vulnerability of older migrants. According to Özgül Uysal-Bozkir, a neuropsychologist, more awareness is very much needed. ‘There is more attention for diversity during researches for people with dementia. That is encouraging, but there still remain many things to pay attention to. Manon Vanderkaa, chief executive of a senior citizen organization says that every human being is strong and vulnerable in a way. ‘We should show the diversity of older people.’ And it is important to make use of the knowledge and experience of the elderly themselves. Professor of ageing, families and migration, Tineke Fokkema is doing a lot of research of loneliness . ‘Especially Turkish older migrants deal with loneliness’, she explains. At the end of the national conference there was music and a nice announcement: You can become a member/friend of NOOM. Take a look at the website.