Sustainable Ageing: Supporting Healthy Ageing and Independence Amongst Older Turkish Migrants in the UK
- To explore how the concept of independence is articulated within the context of healthy ageing by older Turkish adults in the UK.
- To explore the role of personal and community resources in shaping the experience of healthy ageing and independence amongst older, ethnic minority Turkish adults.
- To examine the barriers and facilitators to healthy ageing and independence amongst older, ethnic minority Turkish adults.
- Tell me about your attitudes towards becoming old.
- What are your likes and dislikes about your community?
- Take me through your typical day.
3.1. Interdependency and Having Reciprocal Care Relations
‘Turkey is nice but I do not have anyone there. My children are living here, so inevitably I have to live here.’(Male, 85 years old, living alone, Mainland Turkey, 27 years in the UK.)
‘I do not know who will look after me in the future. The only thing is that I do not want to be a burden on my children. They will get married sooner or late. I do not want to create problems for them or distress them. I hope that I will never find myself in that situation. I pray to God to not make me dependent. I hope God will never make me needy of my children or anyone else.’(Male, 66 years old, married, Mainland Turkey, 36 years in the UK.)
‘Conversations made in my appointments are very important. When I go alone, I cannot understand it. They get angry and say that your problems are very important. Bring a translator. There is a need for someone to come along with you all the time. I cannot ask my children to come with me all the time to appointments. They are both studying and working…’(Female, 55 years old, living alone, Mainland Turkey, 26 years in London.)
‘Intergenerational conflict is high. They have some problems with the younger generation, because their cultural expectations from the younger generation are different from that of the British society. But attitudes and behaviour of people who have been born and raised here are different. For example, in case of respect, in our culture, we call everyone with “abla” and “abi” words. You cannot call anyone with his/her first name even if he/she is one year older than you. But here people call each other by their first name even if he/she is 20 years older than him. It sometimes creates problems for us in case of respect…’(Chief Executive Officer of a Turkish/Kurdish association.)
‘I expect my children to look after me in my old age. They are very good; I am sure they will look after me. I hope God place kindness in their hearts. If God grants them kindness and love for Islam, they will look after me.’(Female, 60 years old, married, Mainland Turkey, 28 years in the UK.)
‘No, I do not expect my children to provide care to me. I rely on the government. I rely on myself. I am sure that I will be able to look after myself. My mother is 76 and looks after herself.’(Female, 58 years old, married, Cyprus, 22 years in the UK.)
‘My daughter-in-law is my caregiver. Now she is pregnant… I do not want to bother her. I look after myself. I do not like strangers to look after me. I do not know them. Since I live alone, I am afraid. I cannot rely on anybody.’(Female, 55 years old, living alone, Mainland Turkey, 26 years in the UK.)
‘My neighbours are mainly Turkish, but I cannot knock on their doors so often. I do not have such a personality to ask help from people… These days, people are different. They do not care about each other.’(Female, 63 years old, married, 20 years in London.)
‘If there is somebody like a caregiver or your children to look after you in your old age, your life can become nice, but if there is no one around to help you, your life is hard.’(Female, 56 years old, married, Mainland Turkey, 14 years in the UK.)
3.2. Individual Autonomy at Home and Choice in Housing Options
‘I think the best option for an older adult is living in their own home, not nursing homes. Even if they own a room, they it will be more convenient there, because a human being in his own home feels more pride. It is more convenient. If you move to nursing home, you will feel bad. You will feel that you do not have anybody, but if you are in your own home, you are more comfortable, even when you make a cup of tea for yourself, it makes you happy.’(Female, 60 years old, married, Mainland Turkey, 28 years in the UK.)
‘I live in a house that is a private property, but the council has rented it. Landlord asks me to move out … but it is his house there is nothing to do for that.’(Female, 59 years old, living alone, Mainland Turkey, 13 years in the UK.)
‘I was living with my son and daughter-in-law in Enfield, then I moved here. Of course, it is better to have your own home. I am satisfied living with my children, but they have little kids; we are now ageing, we want comfort.’(Female, 57 years old, married, Cyprus, 12 years in the UK.)
‘… I spent a lot [of money] on my house. I do not want to leave it. I am used to my area. It is close to everywhere. Just the problems inside my house annoy me… They sent me a mail saying that I can move to a sheltered housing. I can never live there. I cannot move anywhere. It is for 27 years that I have been living here. Just for two times, our lift stopped working. Our view is very nice, too. I like everything about my house ….’(Female, 57 years old, 35 years in London, living alone, Mainland Turkey, community mapping workshop 4.)
‘It is a two-story house, not a flat. Bedroom and bathroom are upstairs. Kitchen and the living room downstairs. It is not possible for me to climb the stairs all the time to reach the bedroom for sleeping, so I sleep in my armchair. But I have a toilet downstairs. They made it for me. Like this… i.e., I try to accept the conditions.’(Female, 55 years old, living alone, Mainland Turkey, 26 years in the UK.)
3.3. Functional Independence, Mobility, and Control over the Physical Environment
3.3.1. Inside Home Mobility
‘It is a house. It has stairs inside. The doctor told me that I do not have to use stairs. Our stairs are very narrow and steep… They put two handles on the sides of stairs. I use them to go up and down the stairs. As far as possible, I try to spend my time in my bedroom whenever there is not any necessary tasks to do downstairs. The toilet is upstairs. I have incontinence problem, too. I am not able to hold my toilet for a long time. Once, when I was going upstairs, I could not control myself.’(Female, 56 years old, living alone, Mainland Turkey, 18 years in the UK.)
‘I live in a 24-storey building. It is not a suitable place for ageing… since Thursday both of our lifts have stopped working. They have not repaired them yet. I have a friend living on the 20th floor; I help her to climb the stairs until the 20th floor! It is a big frustration. It is for days that we have been trapped there!’(Female, 54 years old, married, Mainland Turkey 14 years in the UK.)
‘My bathtub is very high; it is very hard to get into it and exit. My sons help me to get into it. It is for two years that I am waiting for them to come and modify it.’(Female, 56 years old, living alone, Mainland Turkey, 18 years in the UK.)
3.3.2. Out of Home Mobility
‘There is always a fear in me when I walk, because for three times I have been attacked by thugs. Whenever I walk and feel that someone is walking behind me, I feel unsafe…’(Female, 70 years old, living alone, Mainland Turkey, 35 years in the UK.)
‘I do not know English to ask the address from driver. I only get on the bus and go… but I have learned the route to my sister’s house. In the past, I used to lose my way when I was trying to reach to her house, but after 1–2 times, I learned it…’(Female, 83 years old, living alone, Mainland Turkey.)
‘Many of the older adults that come here are illiterate, they cannot read, so they cannot take the bus alone to come here. If there were some education classes for them to teach the routes, it would become nice.’(Female, 55 years old, 15 years in the UK.)
‘Language is a big problem, really. Besides, they are not familiar with the system. Because of these two problems they are very dependent on their children...’(General Secretary of a religious and cultural association, Male.)
‘Now, they are coming with the help of their children or relatives. But to call somebody every time that they want to come here and asking them is devastating both from psychological and time aspects (they cannot be here on time). Availability of a pick-up and drop-off service is very important to enable them to spend at least two hours here daily...’(General Coordinator of a religious and cultural association, Male.)
‘I think there should be discounts on mini-cabs for us… we cannot access everywhere by bus. For example, when I go to a restaurant with my friends, I have to leave the place before 8 p.m. to not be compelled to use a mini-cab. Mini-cabs are very expensive… When we go outside at night, when it comes to returning home, all of us are stressed. We cannot afford mini-cabs all the time…’(Female, 57 years old, living alone, Mainland Turkey, 35 years in the UK, community mapping workshop 4.)
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Number of Participants||Age||Gender||Place of Origin||Number of Years in the UK||Education Level||Occupation|
|Individual interviews||48||Min: 48 |
|High school grautes: 23 |
Elementary and primary school graduates: 15
Academic degree holders: 2
|Textile: 9 |
Combination of both: 2
|Textile: 7 |
Combination of both: 2
|Community mapping workshops||17||-||11||6||2||15||Min: 3 |
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Yazdanpanahi, M.; Hussein, S. Sustainable Ageing: Supporting Healthy Ageing and Independence Amongst Older Turkish Migrants in the UK. Sustainability 2021, 13, 10387. https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810387
Yazdanpanahi M, Hussein S. Sustainable Ageing: Supporting Healthy Ageing and Independence Amongst Older Turkish Migrants in the UK. Sustainability. 2021; 13(18):10387. https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810387Chicago/Turabian Style
Yazdanpanahi, Melisa, and Shereen Hussein. 2021. "Sustainable Ageing: Supporting Healthy Ageing and Independence Amongst Older Turkish Migrants in the UK" Sustainability 13, no. 18: 10387. https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810387