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Accepted Paper:

Caring for elderly parents in Japan while living abroad: everyday practices, mobilities, and long-term strategies  
Yana Yovcheva

Paper short abstract:

This research explores how care for elderly parents across borders affects Japanese migrants' lives and the choices they make - from everyday practices through mobilities to long-term strategies.

Paper long abstract:

As the world's fastest aging nation, Japan faces various challenges in elderly care. While the government has introduced a series of measures that have signified a shift from care exclusively within the family towards its socialization, adult children still bear the (moral) responsibility for it. This becomes more complicated when they happen to live abroad.

This research explores how care across borders affects Japanese migrants' lives and the choices they make - from everyday practices, through mobilities, to long-term strategies. A series of in-depth qualitative interviews with respondents in Austria and Bulgaria help shed light.

As their parents' needs vary, so do choices migrants have to make regarding care arrangements. While financial backing may not always be necessary, staying in touch and providing emotional support via modern communication technologies is a common practice.

When the parents are physically and mentally fit, care can also mean flying back to Japan once a year to spend time together and do chores and paperwork for them.

When the parents' physical and mental condition requires more intensive care (including in care facilities), adult children living abroad are faced with decisions not only about how to finance their much more numerous trips home, but also whether to change jobs and places of residence within the host country in order to be more flexible, whether to proceed with their application for host-country citizenship, and ultimately whether to continue living separately from their parents.

Overall, care across borders presents Japanese migrants with challenges on different levels.

Panel P125
Horizons of ageing in and beyond Europe: later life experiences in a (im)mobile world [Age and Generations Network]