The use of cross-border healthcare and the health perceptions of retired Turkish and Danish migrants from a comparative and transnational perspective – University of Copenhagen

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The use of cross-border healthcare and the health perceptions of retired Turkish and Danish migrants from a comparative and transnational perspective

- Anne Leonora Blaakilde

This project concerns two different types of elderly migrants – specifically, Turkish migrants in Denmark and Danish migrants in Turkey. The two groups are similar in that they are comprised of older people who have spent one part of their lives in one (or more) country (ies), and the later part of their lives in another country. This means that, from a life-course perspective, they represent transnational identities, occupy trans-territorial spaces and experience trans-cultural practices. They do not completely belong in the place where they live, and many of them perform more mobile behaviours, travelling and interacting with electronic and social media more than their counterparts who live in only one country.

By utilising qualitative methodology and a life-course perspective, the intention of this work is to compare these two groups, and thus obtain deeper knowledge about their similarities and differences – especially in terms of health perceptions, healthcare use and health situations.

Theoretically, transnationalism is being applied in this comparative study of two different groups of aging migrants who live in two different settings, but who are in the same situation as elderly migrants with transcultural experiences. The transnational turn represents an analytic optic that focuses on circular flows – not just on people as flexible citizens, but also on goods, information and symbols.

The focal point of this study centres on the health practices and use of healthcare services among the two migrant groups, which involves various actors, practices, social and institutional contacts and material objects like medication.

The study aims to understand different perceptions and practices of healthcare from a transnational perspective in order to contribute ideas about interventions and legislation that would improve migrant health. The project is being conducted in collaboration with the University of Akdeniz, Institute of Gerontology, and associate professor Suzan Yazici, M.D., has assisted in the fieldwork process in both Denmark and Turkey.

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