Short-term international retirement migration is a voluntary lifestyle where people around the age of retirement relocate from areas, typically those with cold winters, to areas with warmer and drier conditions during the winter months. This seasonal pattern of migration is common in many Global North countries, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and many northern European countries. In this dissertation, I use qualitative methods informed by case study methodology to explore the lived experiences of Canadian short-term international retirement migrants managing their health while living in Yuma, Arizona. I specifically present four analyses. The first is a scoping review that synthesizes the literature about motivations for participating in international retirement migration. The second analysis presents the findings of focus groups conducted with health care providers and administrators at the main hospital in Yuma. It explores the opportunities and challenges of treating Canadian international retirement migrants. The third analysis thematically explores interviews conducted with older Canadians while in Yuma regarding how they plan to manage their health while abroad. Finally, an analysis of dyad interviews conducted with caregiver-care recipient partners explores the practice of informal caregiving among Canadian international retirement migrants while abroad and the supports used by caregivers. Overall, these analyses show how international retirement migration presents both opportunities and challenges for older Canadians, and that they serve to underscore the heterogeneity of this diverse group of travelers who have different understandings of risk as it relates to managing health while abroad. Further research is needed to explore other popular sites for retirement migration to further contextualise the experience of older Canadians living seasonally in the Southern United States and beyond.
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Thesis advisor: Crooks, Valorie
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