Ageing in Bexley

Some participants had lived in the UK for most of their lives. They were able to reflect on changes they had observed and experienced. They spoke of differences in Britain:

“…Things have changed an awful lot in this…country. People’s attitudes…have changed….We've found…over the years there was much more tolerance.”
Mr Windsor, Burma.

They also commented on changes in their self-identity:

“As I get older I suppose I hold my culture more ... I am prouder of it than I was years ago.”
Anon, Trinidad.

“Actually, to tell you very frankly, we feel proud to be British, we also feel proud to be of Bangladeshi origin, so there is no difference.”
Anon, Bangladesh.

Many mentioned the importance of belonging:

“…that difference of them being hosts and we being migrants are still embedded in the psyche of people around here, however much you do. That has to improve. I think the belongingness is key.”
Mr Anandraja, Sri Lanka, Director of Bexley Council for Equality and Diversity.

“I'll always be African, the passport is just a passport...Because in my heart, I feel like I'm missing something. I feel like I don't really belong.”
Anon, Ghana.

Some interviewees told us that over time they had combined elements of British culture with that of their country of origin.

You have to accept and there has to be a compromise that you are not living in your own country you are living in another country…you have to accept the culture. I always tell people that there are positives in every culture. Take the positives.”
Mrs Westcombe, who has lived in Britain for over 40 years.

“…we think that we are actually taking the best of the both world and trying to combine them. That's, that's how we feel actually…”
Anon, Bangladesh.

Interviewees expressed concerns about the well-being of their parents and the older generation in general. A changing family structure affects traditional patterns of care for the elderly:

“…now what has happened is – it’s become a common practice amongst the Asians - as soon as the children get married they move out of the family home…people have started accepting it but they miss it in their old age…the thought of going into a care home frightens them.”
Mrs Babraa.