Retirement Abroad as Women’s Aging Strategy
Liesl Gambold, Ph.D.
Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Dalhousie University
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Understanding the culture and lifestyle choices of retirees has never been so crucial. The aging baby boom population bubble means that by 2030 eighteen percent of the U.S. will be 65 or over. The lifestyle decisions of these individuals will have far-reaching implications culturally, politically and economically. Since more women are living their post-retirement lives alone and in economically challenging situations, this paper examines the mobility of older women in the form of international retirement migration as a strategy to ameliorate levels of economic and general well-being. Historically people have retired abroad for various reasons, but current practices suggest that retiring permanently in a foreign country has become an increasingly popular aging strategy. Retiring abroad does not come without serious challenges, however, as the strains of navigating the aging process are interwoven with living in a foreign culture. Based on research done in Mexico, and southern France, this paper highlights the efforts put forth by aging women to avoid the well-trodden path of retirement before them and to forge a new path, choose a new homeland, and perhaps, reinvent themselves a bit along the way.
Key words: gender, aging, retirement, migration
Gambold, Liesl. 2013. Retirement Abroad as Women’s Aging Strategy. Anthropology & Aging Quarterly 34(2): 184-198.