International retirement migration and ageing abroad: Life cycle perspectives on successful ageing
Centre for Ageing and Society, Department of Gerontology University of Vechta Vechta, Germany
International retirement migration has grown fast during the last decade. Retirement migration is conceptualized as a type of amenity-led migration resulting from the individual?s strategy to improve his/her quality of life. In the search for better environments, elderly migrants prefer areas with climate benefits and attractive landscapes. These areas most often coincide with tourist destinations, especially in regions dominated by mass tourism. Since the rapid increase of international mobility in general and international tourism in particular, places in the Mediterranean (i.e. Spain, France, Italy or Portugal) but also around the world (like Thailand, South Africa or Florida) have become attractive retirement destinations for elderly Europeans.
After providing descriptive data on elderly Germans abroad, this paper will investigate retirement migration in a life-course perspective by contrasting the migrants? original decision to take up a retirement home abroad with their changing needs when growing older. It is therefore concerned with both the younger and later stages of old age. Three main aspects will be addressed:
- Which have been the motivations associated with the decision to take up residence abroad?
- How suitable are the migrants' present living environments with regard to the changing needs when growing older?
- Which are potential risk factors in the adjustment process to age-related problems?
The paper concludes with a look at the implications of the findings both for the individual retirement migrant but also for the destination areas.