Seniors can find migration to Australia very difficult. Most speak little English, have difficulty getting around on their own, and live with their relatives. As such, many feel lonely and rely heavily on their children, who are usually quite busy with their jobs and children.
Many seniors feel indebted to their children who have officially ‘sponsored’ them to come to Australia on a parent visa, and are responsible for them financially. But older migrants can also feel that they are being taken advantage of, for example, as babysitters. Others might not be happy about the changes they see in their children and grandchildren as they adapt to Australian society.
There are many organised events and gatherings in Australia for migrant seniors in different age groups and ethnic backgrounds. For example, the Philippine Australian Society of Senior Citizens, based in Sydney – phone: (02) 9726 7333 – was established in 1985 and now has over 300 members. Ethnic newspapers and migrant settlement agencies have information on groups and programs for seniors such as day trips, dance classes and English lessons.
It’s important that senior migrants do not just stay in the house, but explore what Australia has to offer. Here are some tips for senior immigrants to make the most of living in Australia.