Migration After Middle Age

Elderly Chinese are moving abroad to join family, but their journeys are far from smooth

Migrating abroad is among the toughest challenges a person can face in life. For young people, in the prime of their lives and careers, it’s daunting. For elderly people with little experience of foreign countries, it can be downright terrifying.

Fortunately, most don’t need to make the move alone. By far the most common scenario in which elderly people in China move abroad is to be with family members who have already emigrated. Although they have family in their new homes, they still face myriad daily challenges when adapting to their new lives.

“Many of them are uprooted from their established social network in China, so they feel stuck at home and isolated even though they live with their children’s family. Some of them try to go out but because of their unfamiliarity with the community and neighborhood, and because of culture and language barriers, they don’t feel safe going around,” said Dr. Josephine Fong, program director for youth and family services at Canada’s Centre for Immigrant & Community Services (CICS).

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Migration After Middle Age is a story from our issue, “Wildest Fantasy.” To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine. Alternatively, you can purchase the digital version from the App Store.


David Dawson is the former deputy editor of The World of Chinese.

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