Negotiating the Challenges of Ageing as a British Migrant in Spain

Anya Ahmed, Kelly Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
213 Downloads (Pure)


There has been a proliferation of research on lifestyle migration, including studies of older people who move from Northern to Southern European countries in retirement. This body of research has generally focused on third age retirees who exercise mobility to improve their quality of life and to achieve optimal ageing, and these healthy and active migrants are yet to face the challenges associated with the fourth age. In this paper we focus on how retirees in both the third and fourth ages of life experience and exercise mobility and how some experience the transition from young old to old old age in Spain. Whilst the third age is characterised by new opportunities and activities, the fourth age is a time of decreasing mobility, dependence and bodily decline. We bring together narrative interview data from two separate studies undertaken with older British people in Spain to examine three main issues: first we uniquely unravel how the experiences and identities of retired migrants change in response to the ageing body; second, we explore the strategies deployed by retired migrants to manage the fourth age; and third, we explicate how lifestyle migration as a theoretical category captures the experiences of migrants in their fourth age.
This paper therefore presents an original contribution to knowledge by exploring how lifestyle migrants transition from the third to the fourth age, and in particular how they negotiate bodily decline and decreasing mobility. We indicate that ageing represents an important structural context that both enables and restricts opportunities and experiences of mobility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-114
JournalGeroPsych: The Journal of Gerontopsychology and Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2016


  • Third and fourth Age
  • Retirement/lifestyle migration
  • Spain
  • Structural narrative analysis


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