Information and Advice Services for Retirement Migrants

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Information and Advice Services for Retirement Migrants

Helsinki, Finland
Project Stage:
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

International retirement migration's growth increases the need for advice services tailored to the migrating seniors including the fourth age issues.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Retirement migration is fairly new phenomena in the field of migration in Europe and most of the advice services provided by government agencies or European Union concentrate on people of working age and young students. In increasing rates public information and advice services operate online and they mostly provide answers on just one particular field of questions. Seniors tend to prefer personal guidance due to the complexity of the issues involved in migration process and to the specific individual situations.The issues confronted by retirement migrants are vital to their well-being i.e. portability of pension and social security, rights to benefits and services for the elderly, taxation of pensions, inheritance laws and treaties in international setting, senior elderly care and housing in the non-native environment, and the possibility of repatriation. Further more the lack of planning for the fourth age may create many problems for retirement migrants, particularly when health and memory starts to deteriorate. If the questions and problems facing retirement migrants are not addressed properly, the lack of information and advice may result in misinformed decision making which in turn can have long term influence on the quality of life and lead to e.g. depression, alcoholism, social exclusion, and inferior elderly care possibilities and choices.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Finland Society's Information and Advice Service provides tailored information for different groups of retirement migrants by individual counselling, info seminars, and specified mover's guides. This service covers all aspects of retirement migrants life events and is one of a kind in it's nature. The advice service encourages expat seniors to participate in Expat Senior's Ageing Plan groups or at least work on the plan independently. The information and advice service provides materials, guides and seminars to start up these groups in expat communities around Europe. The advice service has established a network of expat seniors representatives. The information service provides the network with up-to-date information on issues concerning expat seniors and senior remigrants, and provides the network a channel to report any problems seniors in any particular expat community are facing. The information service arranges with partners a seminar concentrating on expat/repat seniors and elderly care issues every time Finnish Expatriate Parliament convenes. Finland Society's information and advice service utilizes networking and cooperation as a tool to reach the target group as efficiently as possible. Finland Society's Information and Advice Service for Retirement Migrants is one of a kind and no comparable services exists.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Migrant seniors with dementia most often loose the use of the language they have learned later in life and only speak and understand their mother tongue. This creates impossible patient care situations in dementia patients care facilities and causes aggression and fear in the elderly patients. Professor Sirkka-Liisa Ekman from Karolinska Institute has research the problem among Finnish dementia patients in Sweden, Use of native language during care and knowing the patients cultural background is crucial for quality care. Information and Advice Service has made the problem widely known and Finland Society is lobbying funding for Finnish nursing students trainee exchange programs which would ensure Finnish speaking staff in care facilities with Finnish dementia patients abroad. One such program is called Suomi-Koti and it is in operation with CIMO (Center of International Mobility and Cooperation). Also other exchange programs are promoted for this purpose to expat organizations so they could utilize nursing and social work students, e.g Erasmus within Europe.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

No competing solutions as of yet. Finland Society offers services free of charge to ensure information and advice service regardless of the retirement migrants financial situation. Expatriates and repatriates can access the information and advice they need in one place packaged for them. Competing solutions are highly unlikely due to the already existing cooperation of all the organizations working with the target group. Majority of the users of Finland Society's Information and Advice Service are aging or aged women with low income. Well-to-do retirement migrants also use the services of law offices and other specialized services, and in many cases are also guided to do so by Finland Society's Advice Service. As the retirement age population increases due to baby boom generation, commercial services for retirement migrants are established but advice services provided in business setting usually offer advice as a by-product e.g. with a purchase of a retirement home in Spain or elsewhere in the sunny belt areas.
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Implementer(s) and cooperation partners

Finland Society - Suomi-Seura ry


Non‐profit/NGO/citizen sector organization

Country where main implementer is located

, ES, Helsinki

How long has the main implementer been operating?

More than 5 years

Please provide a short description of the main implementer.

Finland Society is an interest group providing expertise information, advice and service to Finns living or moving abroad or returning to Finland. The society also serves as the permanent secretariat of the Finnish Expatriate Parliament which is a consultative body conveying expatriate views and needs to the Finnish government. Finland Society was founded in 1927 to serve the Finnish immigrants around the world and is still serving expatriate communities and repatriates in the globalized world.

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Cooperation partner

Department of Expatriate Affairs of the Evangelical Lutheran Church


Public body

How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? What competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Expertise knowledge of the senior migrants' situation in expatriate communities through workers/social work. Cooperating partner in arranging seminars on senior migrants issues and provider of facilities for them.

Cooperation partner

Institute of Migration


Non-university research institute

How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Provider of statistics and data on migration. Cooperating partner in the team of Senior Migrants' issues where possible research needs and ideas are discussed.

Cooperation partner

Please select

How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?
Cooperation partner

Seamen's Mission



How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Expert on expatriate communities in Europe (e.g Hamburg, London, Rotterdam, Brussels) and local senior issues through their social workers. Provider of facilities for info seminars, Senior Migrant's Ageing Plan groups and volunteer programs.

Problem and solution
Which of these fields of Active and Healthy Ageing are addressed by your initiative?

Social inclusion (intergenerational practice, work and volunteering).

If none of the above, answer here:
Please describe if and how your stakeholders (cooperation partners, funders, users, etc.) have been participating in defining the problem and developing the solution.

Finland Society's Information and Advice Service for Retirement Migrants works in close co-operation with the Migration Institute in Finland, the Department of Expatriate Affairs of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the Seamen's Mission. Each organization has a representative in a team which meets for discussions and problem solving plans to benefit the senior Finnish expatriates and repatriates, and the team has arranged six seminars on issues concerning senior migrants. Participants of the senior seminars are migrants/remigrants, researchers of senior migration, representatives of expatriate/repatriate organizations, members of volunteer networks, social workers working with senior migrants, elderly care specialists working with senior migrants, and students. The purpose is to exchange ideas, find solutions and to network to be able to promote the well being of senior migrants. E.g. one of the seminars concentrated on Expat Senior's Ageing Plan concept. Finland's Slot Machine Association (RAY) provides approximately 70 percent of the funding required to operate the Finland Society’s Information and Advice Service for Finnish Expatriate and Repatriate Seniors.

Has your solution been tested in trials, experimentations, or pilot projects? If yes, please describe the process and outcome.

Finland Society's Information and Advice Service for seniors has established itself as the only operator of tailored advice service for the target group and is widely known as such among the target group itself, expatriate/repatriate associations, state and local government agencies, and Finnish embassies abroad. Feedback is continuously collected from these sources.The feedback from the organizations mentioned has been utilized to develop the service which started as a project serving the target group with information and advice. Networks and cooperating partners have been added to strengthen the operation and to start up supporting programs such as the Expat Senior's Ageing Plan groups. These groups are found already in Britain, Germany, Netherlands and Sweden and also in e.g. Australia and Canada. The group starts to work on Expat Senior's Ageing Plan after at least the group leader has participated in a seminar where the Finland Society's Senior Citizens' Advisor introduces the ageing plan concept and the materials available. The ageing plan is also tailored to each countries own circumstances on those parts where it is needed e.g. power of attorney, legislation etc.

How long has your solution been in operation?

for more than 5 years

Please select the relationship between your solution and related solutions currently established in our society. Is your solution…

independent (your solution is approaching a problem that has not been approached before)

What barriers might hinder the success of your initiative? How do you plan to overcome them?

The operations of the information and advice service are modified according to the changes in retirement migration, society and funding.
Finland Society's Information and Advice Service is dependent on outside funding so lobbying is vital.
Volunteers in senior network are ageing and younger participants are continuously searched to join the volunteers.

Organization and funding
Regularly paid employees



32 central support persons in 20 countries and over hundred volunteers under their supervision

External advisers and experts
Others (please specify)

Expatriate pastors and social workers, migration research director (co-operating partners)

What are the specific professional backgrounds and competencies your team brings to the initiative?

Extended knowledge of the target groups and practical work among them. University degrees in cultural studies, business, theology, social work, migration research.

Please describe your management or coordination structure in the initiative.

Senior Citizens' Advisor and Coordinator are in charge of the daily operation, planning and implementation of the operation of the Information and Advice Service for Retirement Migrants. The board of Finland Society accepts annually the plan of action. Managing director of Finland Society oversees the financial aspects of the operation.

Please provide the total yearly budget in Euro that your initiative spends on implementing the solution.

68 000

National public funding

%79.5 The Finnish Slot Machine Association (RAY)

European Union public funding


Economic return from own products/services


Foundations and philanthropy capital


Single donations from private individuals


Donations from private companies


Crowdfunding platforms


Participation fees


Other (please specify)

%20.5 Finland Society's own funding

Target group, scale and impact
Which target group(s) do you want to reach with your solution?

Aging and aged (50+) expatriate and repatriate seniors including those who are on the stage of planning retirement migration (e.g. to Finland, to Spain or elsewhere). The main target groups' caretakers and the organizations working with the main target group (local expat associations and organizations working with the target group).

Please estimate the number of persons within your target group (users, clients, etc.) that you currently reach directly with your solution.

Approximately 5000 annually

In which local/regional/national area(s) is the solution currently implemented?

Europe:Mainly in Nordic countries, Germany, UK, Netherlands, Mediterranean countries.Outside EU: North America and Australia.

What is the impact on your target group (users, clients) you want to generate?

Through information and advice distribution including tailored email newsletters, info seminars, establishing groups working with individual expat aging plan, and by expanding expat senior networks, the aim is to help the target group to make informed decisions for their retirement years (third age) and for the years elderly care is needed (fourth age). Promotion of well-being by planned aging and advocating for the target groups' special needs in old age (e.g. dementia patents with only native language left for communication).

What is the wider impact on society you want to generate?

Promote the practice of integrating cultural and ethnic aspects into ageing process and elderly care. Promote the use of the individual's own resources to help the seniors in everyday situations and to improve their quality of life.

What are the impacts on your target group you already achieved?

Senior repatriate guides distributed worldwide in info seminars, through expat associations, Finnish embassies and Lutheran Church and mailed free of charge to thousands of individuals. This guide is also online and is linked to i.a. government sites, cooperating partners sites, expat associations site e.g RSKL > RSE, Finnish Pensioners in Sweden, see attached link
Groups working on Senior Migrant's Aging Plan in countries with Finnish expatriate communities.
Suomi-Koti practical training exchange program for nursing and social work students.

How has the impact of your initiative been assessed?

Experience-based self-assessment (you assessed the impacts based on your experiences with the target group), Feedback-based self-assessment (you assessed the impacts based on feedback from the target group without using specific methods), Self-evaluation (you used qualitative and/or quantitative methods to assess impacts).

Public information and strategy
What information on your initiative is publicly available?

Activity report.

Please indicate webpage or contact for obtaining the respective information.
What are your milestones for further developing, implementing, and establishing your initiative in the next three years? Please describe 1-3 milestones.

Widespread use of the Expat Senior's Aging Plan and further development of the plan.
More extended use of web based information distribution for the target group, e.g. portal.