Supporting Spanish-speaking older migrants in Brussels

Submitted by AFE INNOVNET on Thu, 01/08/2015 - 15:43.

Mobility has always been part of our history and many European and non-European citizens have settled in their adoptive countries. However, one can wonder how they adapt to their new home countries when time has come to retire and what is available for them to keep them active, healthy and integrated.

Two Spanish NGOs – ACCEM and Hispasante – decided to consider the situation of their fellow citizens that are now established in Belgium and more specifically in Brussels. They realized that the Spanish migrants of the 50s and 60s were now elderly citizens with different needs and demands. With the support of the Spanish Ministry of Employment and Social Security, they organize different activities, such as memory, computer, psychomotricity, intergenerational or French workshops dedicated to Spanish-speaking elderly citizens to enhance their quality of life, their social inclusion and keep them active within their new country.

Thanks to the partnership between the two Spanish NGOs and a Belgian local service centre of the Schaerbeek municipality – AKSENT – one of the activities, the computer workshops, is being held once a week in the premises of AKSENT. Each of the partners provides what they can: AKSENT provides the premises and some laptops, ACCEM contributes by also making some laptops available and Hispasante gives class to the participants, who are Spanish-speaking elderly people, but also seniors from Maghrebian or Belgian origin that are coming to learn how to use a computer. These activities allow senior citizens from different backgrounds to gather around an activity and thus decrease the feeling of loneliness by allowing them to meet with other people.

Besides these activities, since 2005, Hispasante has also been organizing conferences in Spanish focusing on health (“Anxiety among elderly people”; “Social relationships”; “Healthy body, healthy mind”) and thus promoting better health literacy among senior citizens who sometimes don’t know where to find the information in their adoptive country or are more comfortable consulting a Spanish-speaking practitioner. Therefore, they have compiled a list of professionals they could use when needed.

Should you need further information about these conferences and workshops in Brussels, please contact the President of Hispasante, Ana Maria Turk ( or the Director, Araceli Abellán Fuentes (