Severe health and social care issues among British migrants who retire to Spain

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Hardill, I ; Spradbery, J ; Arnold-Boakes, J ; Marrugat, ML (2005)

In recent years, there has been a growth in academic interest in international retirement migration in Europe, particularly north-south retirement migration to destinations like Spain. In this paper we focus on those members of the British community who have lived in Spain for a considerable time and for whom familial, social and institutional ties with Britain are weak or disrupted. Age Concern España was established by members of the British community to provide information and services on healthcare, benefits and local services in Spain. Four indicative case studies of those requesting assistance and classified as being of ‘serious need’ are presented. They illustrate the ways in which happy and fulfilling lives in Spain were abruptly changed as the person’s resources (bodily, economic, social and skills) for independent living diminished, and in which institutions and friendship networks played a key role in supporting life. The paper is the product of collaboration between researchers and practitioners in Spain and the UK, and brings together previous research with new qualitative case studies. Whilst policy-makers, practitioners and gerontologists have an increasing awareness of the needs of older migrants and the challenges they pose for public policy, particularly for health and social care systems in Spain, there have been little sustained analysis and cross-country debate.
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