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Being older: Ethnicity

Older people of different ethnic origins may be less visible than other members of society. The first generation of economic migrants tended to be younger men, who initially sent money back to their families but later brought relatives over to the UK: there was thus a generation of older people who found themselves in a strange country where they knew neither language nor culture, and where their own cultures could keep them indoors and isolated. While some minority ethnic communities live in close proximity, other families may be isolated, while the long hours which they work, for example in the catering trade, limits opportunities for broader social links.

Although some of these patterns may continue today there are also many older people of various ethnic backgrounds who have grown older in the UK and whose social integration and expectations may be very different. While there will still be cultural barriers for some people, most will have the same needs for health and social care, sometimes modified by different religious beliefs.

Christians on Ageing will be exploring the effects of growing older on people from minority ethnic backgrounds, especially in regard to their participation in the life of their own and the wider communities, and also in matters of health and social care.

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