Older migrants have the right to be treated with respect: respect of their age, and respect of their culture

written by Hanna Murray-Carlsson

Eniec members Saloua Berdai Chaouni and Ann Claeys have published an article on the website of Ageing Equal about how older migrants are subject to both ageism and racism through othering of their care needs. By othering, they refer to have older migrants, and their care needs are considered different from the native-born population. To explain how othering occurs in dementia care, they provide an example of how language barriers are oversimplified:
“They are so long here, and they don’t even master Dutch!” is a frequently stated expression by the caregivers. The fact that with dementia one person returns to his/her mother tongue/dialect and language barrier results from a complex migration reality than “their unwillingness to learn the language” is overlooked.”
Saloua and Ann argue that it is necessary for care organizations and professionals to realize that there is a need to have more respect for older migrants’ age and their cultural heritage in a nursing home. The care that overlooks migration histories and cultural heritage of other older migrants and excludes them from services. Good care for older migrants can be achieved when those structural barriers are addressed.
On the campaign website of aging equal you can also read more about ageism and migration: https://ageing-equal.org/ageism-and-migration/