Caring for Older People: Ethnic eldersBMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7057.610 (Published 07 September 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:610
- Shah Ebrahim, professor of clinical epidemiologya
- a Department of Primary Care and Population Sciences, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London NW3 2PF
Since the 1870s Britain has received large numbers of immigrants from different countries and cultures (fig 1). Migration is due to “push” and “pull” factors. After the second world war, Britain actively recruited labour from Commonwealth countries to aid the reconstruction effort—a major “pull”; many came thinking they would earn enough money to return home and retire in comfort. “Push” factors are poverty, political instability, and oppression.
Immigration policy became much less flexible during the 1980s and led to reductions in the numbers of new arrivals. New migrants arrive daily from some countries (such as Somalia) where political oppression endangers life but not from others (former Yugoslavia). British immigration policies are not consistent.
It is still possible for older people from some countries to resettle in Britain by joining their children. The distribution of ethnic minorities in Britain is strongly biased towards inner city areas of major industrial towns. Bradford, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham, Wolverhampton, Leicester, Birmingham, Coventry, and London have high numbers of elderly people of different ethnic origins.
Ethnicity is a …