The specific cultural background of older migrants does not appear to determine their care wishes and needs. The mutual diversity is great, which means that wishes and needs are very personal and partially depend on where and how someone has lived.
Nina Conkova (Leyden Academy on Vitality and Ageing) and Marina Jonkers (Knowledge Center for Healthcare Innovation, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences) were interviewed on this matter by Movisie, a knowledge institute for a coherent approach to social issues.
Every person is different
The one-sided stereotypical image of older migrants – on which policy is still being made – is incorrect, according to the above mentioned researchers. This also applies to care for older people, where it is still often assumed that culture-specific facilities are much better for older people with a migration background, because this would take more into account their specific wishes and needs. Nina: “We saw, on the other hand, that too much is being based on uniformity and stereotypical assumptions, while the group of elderly people is very diverse. This in turn leads to unrealistic expectations about specific care for father or mother, which is not there. It simply remains a Dutch setting with a few culture-specific adjustments, such as halal food or a room that is decorated differently. And that doesn’t work. It is about personal attention and customisation. Every person is different.”
Sushi in the nursing home
The article is illustrated by striking examples and striking statements, such as the Moroccan Muslim who indicated that he would later like to be able to continue practicing his religious habits in a nursing home, but would also like to eat sushi. Or the Turkish gentleman with dementia who visited a culture-specific daytime activity where people were divided into groups according to nationality. The man was assigned to the Turkish group, but always went for a walk to the elderly who were born in the Netherlands. He turned out to have been the owner of a nightclub and had always lived among the people of Rotterdam. A wise lesson for the coordinator of the daytime activities, who from now on asks further during the intake about how someone’s life was and what someone likes are.
On 16 and 17 October 2023, the ILC Global Alliance held a meeting in Tokyo, Japan, co-chaired by Julie Byles and Margaret Gilles. The attendees included representatives from ILCs in Australia, Canada, Singapore, South Africa, the UK, and the USA as well as the Secretariat.
16 and 17 October 2023
In June / July this year, Prof. Jaco Hoffman, Prof. Vera Roos and Dr. Rayne Stroebel visited the International Longevity Centre (ILC) in Singapore as members of ILC South Africa. The visit aimed to share common themes around socio-gerontology and to learn from examples in Singapore to establish a community for successful ageing.
ILC South Africa is pleased to announce that Rayne Stroebel has joined its leadership team as an Executive Member. He serves alongside Professors Sebastiana Kalula and Jaco Hoffman, based at the University of Cape Town and North-West University, respectively, who are ILCSA’s Co-directors. Retired Professor Monica Ferreira remains Honorary President of ILCSA.