This chapter describes what the women shared about ageing in prison as well as the connections they drew between ageing and acceptance. The older women suffered health problems exacerbated by imprisonment, and psychological difficulties including staff disrespect and a felt shame of ageing in prison. Acceptance was achieved on three levels: acceptance of incarceration, acceptance of responsibility, and acceptance of self.
This chapter introduces the book, canvassing the issue of women ageing in prison and their generative aims and actions. Against a negative picture drawn in most research of ageing and imprisonment, the chapter cues the possibilities of making meaning from behind bars. The layout of the book and the themes of its chapters are also described.
This chapter uses fieldwork data to discuss retirement migration in relation to the social precarity that can result from age-based discrimination. We show how the ageism in our interviewees’ home countries led them to feel excluded or to anticipate this, and how they found that they were valued in their new countries, rather than burdens. Avoiding ageism and social exclusion was not their primary motivation for migrating, but finding that they were not marginalised in their new countries based on their age emerged as an important aspect of their happiness. Further, the apparent absence of ageism mattered regardless of our respondents’ class. We begin the chapter with our respondents’ accounts of being considered burdens in their home countries, which they contrast to their perception of being valued as contributors in their host countries. We highlight the experiences of older women, who feel more visible and safer than they had felt at home. Then, we discuss the advantages retirement migrants have found in residing among age peers. We discuss the internalised ageism that many respondents demonstrate, which we take to suggest that their avoidance of social precarity is, at best, incomplete.
This chapter uses collected data to discuss interlinkages between international retirement migration and economic precarity in later life resulting from disadvantages accumulated over the life course and intersecting systems of inequalities. We consider three components of retirement migrants’ living conditions: the welfare state policies that shape their lives and the provisions on which they rely; their present and past positions in the labour market; and their household composition. We perform our analysis upon data of both retirees who relocated before full retirement age and those who moved once they had reached this threshold. We consider the influence of specific global events, such as the recession of 2007–08, as well as the differences and similarities in how welfare states in home countries shaped retirees’ experiences of migration. Finally, we discuss some contexts in which economic precarity remains despite migration.
After affordability, healthcare is most important factor that retirees consider when they think about whether and where to migrate. Often subsumed under the rubric of healthcare is the need for daily assistance that can occur in later life even among people with no immediate need of medical care. As is discussed in this chapter, retirement migrants from the Global North are positioned to benefit from wide access to high-quality healthcare services made more affordable to them than they might otherwise be by global divisions of wealth. This postcolonial relation to care persists even though most of these migrants do not recognise their privileges in this regard. They are more likely to attribute their access to high-quality care to cultural differences, that is, to a respect and love for older people that they believe is intrinsic to the cultures of their host nations. This cheaper and better treatment extends to the potential need for assistance in later life as well. Although health and assistance can be related, they do not need to be, and thus in this chapter, we distinguish between these two dimensions of precarity. Throughout, we also attend to the fact that underlying their concerns for both healthcare and assistance is the reality that these migrants are older people; their age matters.
Generativity or ‘giving back’ is regarded as a common life stage, occurring for many around middle age. For the first time, this book offers qualitative research on the lives and social relationships of older imprisoned women. In-depth interviews with 29 female prisoners in the south-eastern United States show that older women both engage in generative behaviours in prison and also wish to do so upon their release.
As prisoners continue to age, the US finds itself at a crossroads on prison reform, with potential decarceration beginning with older prisoners. The COVID-19 pandemic has led many to consider how to thrive under difficult circumstances and in stressing the resilience of older incarcerated women, this book envisions what this could look like.
This chapter positions retirement migration within the larger context of international migration trends and outlines the theoretical framework that we use in our examination of retirement migration. It starts with describing the growing phenomenon of retirement migration from richer countries to places of the world where the costs of living are cheaper, as well as the diverse forms that such geographic movements take. We then introduce the literature on precarity, ageing and ageism on which the book draws. We focus on three forms of precarity: economic, social (and how this is shaped by ageism) and health (in terms of both assistance and care). The rest of the chapter gives an overview of the book’s content.
This chapter examines the challenges that imprisonment poses to health, mental well-being, and relationships with family and friends, according to prior research. It compares such challenges for men and women. The chapter begins by reporting on problems wrought by ageing, then describes how such problems vary by gender, before turning to research on ageing in prison specifically.
This chapter is the first of three in the book to report study findings. It brings to light accounts of parenting from prison. Twenty-seven of the 29 women interviewed were mothers; the majority were mothers of adult children living on their own. They described rather different relationships with their children, captured as four types of mothers: the remorseful mother, the contented mother, the uneasy mother, and the abandoned mother. Most remained optimistic about family life, including grandparenting, when they returned home.
This chapter examines the concept of generativity, first advanced by developmental psychologist Erik Erikson, more closely. Generativity relates to action as well as narrative; maturing individuals situate generativity within their life stories. The chapter considers generative outlets for people who are incarcerated and ways in which prisons impede, permit, or facilitate generativity. It also describes the methods with which the author’s prison-based, qualitative research was conducted.