2012 Conference Presentation
Older population from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups are in the increase in the UK. The Turkish population is no exception with an estimated population of at least 300,000 in the UK. Three distinct Turkish groups with different cultural and historical backgrounds form different communities within the UK; these are Turkish, Turkish Cypriots and Kurdish but Turkish citizens. Turkish immigration to the UK started since the 1970’s with immigrations from certain groups, particularly Kurdish Turkish, increased during the late 1980s and 1990s. There is now considerable proportion of such communities aged 60 years or more, however, there are evidence of language and cultural integration issues, especially after the decline of the textile industry that originally employed many of them.
The current article reports on findings from interviews and focus group discussions with 52 Turkish migrants aged 60 or more in London that took place between October 2011 and February 2012. The interviews explored older Turkish migrants perceptions of ageing in a ‘foreign’ country and investigated their social and care needs as they grew older. The article discusses issues of culture and language encounters and challenges. The analysis investigates personal, community and institutional barriers to accessing service and their intersections with growing long term care needs.
The analysis indicates that despite the heterogeneity of older Turkish migrants, the majority share barriers related to language, acceptance of care and access that traverse with their culture and heritage. Some participants felt that they are stereotyped into certain category with expectations that most of their needs are met through their own family and community. The findings have wider implications and resonate with the experience of other older BME communities in the UK. The research indicates a need for more culturally appropriate services as well as raising awareness of existing support to avoid social exclusion and facilitate access and participation including socially inclusive and labour force activities among older Turkish communities.