Retirement Migration and Health: Growing Old in Spain

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


Colleges, School and Institutes


Spain has become a popular retirement destination for British citizens; its warm climate, lower living costs and relaxed pace of life has attracted those looking for a more fulfilling retirement. Most retirees are fit and healthy when they move to Spain, however, growing old can bring increased vulnerabilities, especially vulnerability to ill health, disability and frailty resulting in an abrupt end to the third age and the onset of the ‘fourth age’ of dependence and decline. This chapter focuses on the health and care issues facing retired British migrants in Spain who have grown old and frail. Drawing on research undertaken by the author and others, it explores rights and access to health and social care services. There are considerable differences in health and care services between Northern and Southern European countries which are often not anticipated by migrants when they move, resulting in a tension between expectations and reality underpinned by different cultural understandings of care. As such, older migrants often seek alternative routes to health and social care including through the voluntary sector in Spain and returning to the UK to access support in old age.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Migration and Health
Editorsfelicity thomas
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Dec 2016