Research project

Aging in exile: Access to health care and the experience of older ukrainian refugees in France

“This project intends to bring a grounding in the field of the sociology of aging and an approach focused on the situation of exile and the status of refugees. We try to understand what are the experiences of exile of elderly Ukrainian refugees in France.”


A process of invisibilization of the Ukrainian elderly in France


The war in Ukraine broke out on February 24, 2022. To flee the violence, several million Ukrainians have left their country to find refuge in neighboring countries and in some more distant countries in Europe, such as France, where the latest estimates put the number of Ukrainian refugees in the country at around 100,000. As is often the case in humanitarian crises, the elderly are invisible, despite the fact that their vulnerability is heightened by age-related health and social fragility. Given the process of invisibilization of the experiences and conditions of reception of elderly Ukrainian refugees in France, this project intends to question the way in which the situation of exile in France impacts the experiences and positions of the elderly in relation to their advancing age. This research is based on three main objectives: the first concerns the identification of elderly Ukrainian refugees, describing the characteristics of these people and their experience of exile. The second is to describe the living conditions of elderly refugees in France. The third objective is to understand how the elderly Ukrainian refugees in France live this situation of exile in the context of a period marked by a certain accumulation of vulnerabilities: social, economic and psychological.


To remedy the lack of data collected on their arrival, living and reception conditions


Very little data has been collected on the conditions of arrival, life and reception of Ukrainian elderly exiles in France. We therefore propose to question the way in which these people experience the situation of exile in France. We also want to understand how these situations of exile impact the experience of advancing age in this context.

To this end, the survey is divided into two parts. The first part is a quantitative approach and consists of a census that is as exhaustive as possible. It is carried out with all the institutions likely to provide this information (associations, State services, local authorities), starting with the regions where the presence of refugees is the most important. This is the case for the Ile de France region, the Grand Est region, the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. The database is analyzed in order to identify the main trends in the conditions of arrival and reception and in the constitution of solidarity networks. he second part of the study is a qualitative approach based on thirty or so semi-directive interviews with elderly Ukrainians who have fled their country, in order to collect and analyze their perceptions of the conditions of reception in France and their identified needs.


To contribute to research on elderly refugees by making their situation visible


The scientific interests of this project are of different kinds. First of all, it is to make visible situations that are marginalized in the framework of public policies but also in the scientific field: the case of elderly refugees. While this can be explained in part by the still relatively small proportion of elderly people in the refugee population, this situation will change as the population ages and in the context in which certain populations are weakened by the occurrence and sometimes the superposition of health, climatic and humanitarian crises. While the scientific literature in the human and social sciences on elderly migrants is quite abundant, there is very little research on elderly refugees in France. Secondly, this project is part of an emergency humanitarian crisis and will contribute to research in crisis situations.




Armelle Klein holds a thesis in socio-demography entitled “Knowledge, practices and acceptability of gerontechnologies in Reunion Island”. She has worked on the uses of health and autonomy technologies and information and communication technologies. She has also worked on access to prevention for vulnerable populations and on transformations in the supply of support for advancing age and disability. She is currently a post-doctoral fellow at Ceped where she is conducting research on access to care for elderly people in crisis situations.