Bhula-or, R., Chimmamee, M. & Osatis, C. (2022) Migration of older persons seeking care in Thailand. Journal of Social Issues, 78, 521– 543.

Dominant cultural views and norms in Asia indicate that elder care should be met within the family. However, little is known about the migratory patterns of older adults seeking care in non-institutional settings. This study investigates older adults’ migration patterns and factors that affect their decisions to seek care in home-based facilities. We employed an explanatory-sequential approach, using two data sets: (1) Thai National Migration Surveys in Thailand for 2016, 2017, and 2018, and (2) in-depth interviews with 20 older adults who migrated for care. Our findings indicate that elderly migration for care in home-based settings is a strategy used by households to meet the care needs of older individuals. Age group, marital status, education, gender, health, family structure, family attachments, and the capacity of destination caregivers to provide care were significant factors influencing the likelihood of moving for care. The findings support the new economics of labor migration paradigm in minimizing the risk of households. Additionally, they demonstrate that an ecological framework can be expanded beyond their geographical boundaries through familial connections and the concept of aging in place.