Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 379–395

Exclusion of Older Immigrants from the Former Soviet Union to Finland: The Meaning of Intergenerational Relationships

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10823-011-9153-y

Cite this article as:
Heikkinen, S.J. J Cross Cult Gerontol (2011) 26: 379. doi:10.1007/s10823-011-9153-y

Abstract

This article discusses factors that affect the exclusion of older immigrants in Finland. The meaning of intergenerational relationships to older immigrants in an everyday life context is versatile and comprises support, commitment and expectations between generations. The second and third generations are doing their best to cope with their own everyday life and integration process while being under the pressure to meet the varied expectations of the first generation. The topic is explored using qualitative data drawn from interviews with three-generation families from the former Soviet Union. The study found that satisfying factors of everyday life, such as housing or activities offered by society and the possibility to live close to the children and grandchildren reflect the feeling of inclusion to the host society. Dissatisfying feelings such as hostile attitudes, deficient language acquisition and a longing for the former home country, people and places there, affect the feelings of social and emotional exclusion. The exclusion faced by older immigrants in the Finnish society seems to be more complicated and sensitive than is generally recognized; it is illustrated through the emotions of immigrant elders rather than through their active actions or participation.

Keywords

Emotional exclusionFamilyIntergenerational relationsOlder immigrantsSocial exclusion

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Health SciencesUniversity of TampereTampereFinland