Care precarity among older British migrants in Spain

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Northern European international retirement migrants are often viewed as affluent and use migration as a route to a better quality of life. However, as these migrants transition into the ‘fourth age’, the onset of age-related illnesses, frailty and care needs can lead to increased levels of risk and insecurity. Through 34 qualitative interviews with older British migrants in Spain, the paper explores how these migrants access and experience care as they age. It draws on a lens of precarity that allows an understanding not only of individual care needs, but of the political, economic and social context in which they are situated, including social protections and public safety nets. The findings suggest that distant family relationships and limited access to formal social protection can both create and exacerbate precarity. These older migrants therefore develop different strategies
to access care that include drawing on informal relationships and voluntary organisations within the British community in Spain. The paper contributes to understanding how international retirement migrants manage their care needs, and theoretically extends our understanding of how the intersection of old age, migration and care can create new forms of precarity.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalAgeing and Society
Early online date21 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (award number ES/P009255/1, ‘Sustainable Care: Connecting People and Systems’, 2017–2021, Principal Investigator Sue Yeandle, University of Sheffield).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press.


  • precarity
  • Spain
  • international retirement migration
  • care
  • fourth age


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