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Race and ethnicity

Perspectives on ageing in Gypsy families

This Perspectives paper explores the views of a range of older Gypsies as they reflect on their past and experiences of ageing.

Written by:
Pauline Lane et al.
Date published:

We hope that sharing some of these experiences will lead to a celebration of how Gypsy families support their elders. Pauline Lane spoke to Gypsy elders who look back on their nomadic life with great affection and a sense of loss for themselves and young Gypsies, who cannot follow these traditions.

Contributors talked about:

  • The heart of Gypsy life being family. Most Gypsies continue to live in extended family groups and maintain traditional gender roles.
  • The fact that Gypsy families have always had very strict moral codes and this continues into the present day. Young people take on adult responsibilities at the age of 16.
  • Successive governments failing to deliver adequate sites for Gypsies and Travellers. The current legal system makes it nearly impossible for many of them to maintain traditional nomadic lives.
Group of volunteers standing in a school garden.

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