Retired and making a fresh start: Older Russian immigrants discuss their adjustment in Israel

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Social research on immigrants has usually centred on working age groups or youth, while studies on retired immigrants were typically driven by the social work, geriatric, or nursing agendas, centring on the issues of health, stress, social, and medical services. Trying to explore migration in old age from a broader sociological perspective, this qualitative study addressed different aspects of the socio-cultural adjustment of older Russian immigrants of the 1990s in Israel. Drawing on group discussions and in-depth interviews conducted in two major urban centres, the study covers senior immigrants' attitudes toward the host Israeli society; material privations and coping tools; intergenerational families; patterns of social organization, communication, and cultural consumption; ties with places of origin in the former Soviet Union (FSU); and the perceived sum total of losses and gains from migration. The findings indicate that older immigrants have developed multiple ways for meaningful identification with Israel and generally perceived their resettlement experience as difficult but positive. As their social networks were limited to the Russian immigrant community, most elders did not see their poor knowledge of Hebrew as a major integration obstacle. The main reported difficulties were in the areas of housing, low income, and weakening ties with younger family members.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-175
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Migration
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2003


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