Moving old age care abroad: New forms of ageing and care?

In recent years, the establishment of old age facilities abroad that are catering to specific nationalities or linguistic communities can be observed. For about the last 15 years this development can also be observed for people from German-speaking countries. Most of these facilities have been established in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe. They include care facilities that exclusively target persons in need of assisted living and long-term care as well as senior residences that focus primarily on older people with a general good health status. In contrast to the widespread media coverage of these facilities they have received little academic attention. The project examines the underlying processes and factors of their emergence, the residents’ reasons for migration and the living conditions and the everyday life in these facilities. In particular, it analyses the (transnational) processes through which these facilities are organized and created, the emerging concepts of care and aging and the life option that they offer. It follows an ethnographic approach and uses participant observation, qualitative interviews, carried out with key actors, such as facility operators, residents, family members, and staff, as well as document analysis and video analysis.

Project director: Cornelia Schweppe

Research associates: Désirée Bender, Sonja Großmann, Tina Hollstein

Funding: Gutenberg Research College (2014 -2017)



Großmann, S. and Schweppe, C. 2018 (in preparation). Just like in Germany, only better? Old age care facilities in Poland for people from Germany and the question of legitimacy. Ageing & Society.

Bender, D., Hollstein, T., and Schweppe, C. 2018. Old age facilities for German-speaking people in Thailand – A new facet of international migration in old age. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 1-16. doi: 10.1080/1369183X.2018.1521266

Bender, D., Hollstein, T., and Schweppe, C. 2018. International retirement migration revisited: From amenity seeking to precarity migration?. Transnational Social Review, 8, 1, 98-102.

Bender, D., Hollstein, T., and Schweppe, C. (2017). Alteneinrichtungen für deutschsprachige Menschen in Thailand und Polen: „Alten-Export“ oder erweiterte Lebensoptionen im Alter?. Nachrichtendienst des deutschen Vereins für öffentliche und private Fürsorge e.V. (NDV), 2017 December, 563-568.

Bender, D., Hollstein, T., and Schweppe, C. 2017. The emergence of care facilities in Thailand for older German-speaking people: structural backgrounds and facility operators as transnational actors. European journal of ageing, 14, 4, 365-374.

Horn, V., Schweppe, C., Bender, D. and Hollstein, T. 2016. "Moving (for) Elder Care Abroad": The Fragile Promises of Old-Age Care Facilities for Elderly Germans in Thailand. In V. Horn and C. Schweppe (Eds.), Transnational Aging: Current Insights and Future Challenges (pp. 163-177). New York/London: Routledge.

Bender, D., Hollstein, T. and Schweppe, C. 2015. Alt werden im ‚Land des Lächelns‘. Alteneinrichtungen für deutschsprachige Ältere in Thailand und ihre globalen Verflechtungszusammenhänge. Soziale Passagen – Journal für Empirie und Theorie Sozialer Arbeit, 7 ,1, 131-144.

Bender, D. 2015. ,Doing discourse for moving care recipients'. Pflegeheime für deutschsprachige demenzkranke Menschen in Thailand ,salonfähig' machen. Zeitschrift für qualitative Forschung, 16, 1, 73-98.

Bender, D., Hollstein, T., Horn, V., Huber, L. and Schweppe, C. 2014. Old age care facilities and care-seeking elderly on the move. Transnational Social Review, 4, 2-3, 290-293.