Healthy communities in ageing societies – participatory research with elderly immigrants and refugees living in a Nordic society (HEALTHCOM)

NordForsk funded (2023-2025) research project on health promotion of the elderly immigrants and refugees living in a Nordic society, with a specific focus on the community-based development of physical activities.

Funded by NordForsk, the overall aim of this project (2023–2025) is to explore the opportunities and barriers for promoting the health and well-being of elderly immigrants and refugees living in a Nordic society. The project sets out to examine and further develop the use a community-based participatory research approach that can strengthen civil society in the Nordic countries and empower a particularly health challenged group.  

Nordic societies are not only ageing but the ageing population is also getting increasingly diverse. Whereas until recently numbers of immigrants and refugees aged 65+ were almost negligible, such numbers are on the rise and will grow significantly in the next years. The main question is the following:  How can researchers together with public and civil society partners as well as older members of minority-ethnic groups examine the capacity of community-based activities for promoting the self-perceived physical, mental and social health of elderly immigrants and refugees?

HEALTHCOM is led by Verena Lenneis from the Department of Health Science and Technology at the Aalborg University. The other Nordic partners are the Centre for Nordic Studies – CENS at the University of Helsinki, the Department of Sport Sciences at the Malmö University and the Department of Primary and Secondary Teacher Education at the Oslo Metropolitan University.   

The Finnish sub-project by CENS seeks to investigate the meanings sport and physical activities may hold to elderly Ukrainian refugee in their new settings. In addition, the sub-project asks how participation in sport and physical activities may provide links between their respective socio-cultural contexts and new localities. The Finnish sub-project is led by Malte Gasche from CENS and involves junior researcher Sami Koskelainen.

Cover photo: Nordic_walking_Sauvakävelyä_Vallilassa_H8261_C.jpg: Annelisderivative work: Steven Fruitsmaak, CC BY-SA 3.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons