At the Division of Ageing and Social Change (ASC), we organise the ASC-ISAR online seminar series which provides outstanding lectures on ageing of interdisciplinary significance for all those interested in ageing research.

Research on ageing is by nature interdisciplinary. Ageing is part of human life in general, but also socially constructed and influenced by many different factors, such as genes, lifestyle, social structure, welfare systems, technical development, health care, medicine, and economy. Many research areas are associated with ageing, although not considered as “ageing research”.

ASC-ISAR is a seminar series for everyone interested in research on ageing. Each academic year, we invite a limited number of guest speakers who are distinguished contributors to the proliferation of knowledge on issues related to ageing to present their works and perspective. 

ASC-ISAR provides a platform for ageing researchers and for anyone interested in ageing-related topics to attend lectures, meet, network and create collaborations.

All seminars are held in English and via Zoom.

Programme

2024

Upcoming seminars 2024

The Impact of Living in More or Less Age Diverse Neighbourhoods on the Health and Well-Being of Older Adults in the UK

Presenter: Martin Hyde, Professor, University of Leicester, the UK

Date and time: 5 June, 13:15 CEST

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Abstract: Intergenerational solidarity has been identified as a key factor for effective social functioning. However, evidence suggests that divisions between younger and older generations in many countries are widening. Residential age segregation is thought to be an important driving force behind this intergenerational division. As well as being problematic in their own right such divisions are thought to have wider negative social consequences, such as increasing loneliness and social isolation, weakening social cohesion and impacting on health and well-being. However, to date, these assumptions have not been empirically tested in large scale, nationally representative data. Nor have researchers examined whether residential age diversity has different effects for different age groups. To redress this, we examine the extent to neighbourhood age diversity is associated with i) loneliness, ii) neighbourhood cohesion and iii) physical and mental health for younger, middle-aged and older adults in the UK. Residential age diversity was measured using the Area Level Index of Age Diversity (ALIAD). This was linked to household and individual data in the UK Household Longitudinal Survey data (N ~50,000). For each outcome multilevel regression analyses were performed for the sample as whole and separately for those aged 16-39, 40-64 and 65+. Covariates included, area level deprivation, urban/rural, residential tax band, home ownership, household demographics, individual age, sex, marital status and financial situation. Descriptive analyses of ALIAD revealed that most people in the UK live in age diverse neighbourhoods. The results of the multilevel analyses are somewhat mixed. We found some evidence that greater residential age diversity is associated with perceptions of greater neighbourhood cohesion for the sample as a whole. But there were no significant associations in the different age groups. Nor did we find any statistically significant associations between neighbourhood age diversity and loneliness or physical and mental health outcomes. Overall, our findings suggest that the distribution and impact of neighbourhood age diversity, in the UK, at least is not a significant risk factor. However, more research is needed to explore this in other countries and with a wider set of outcome measures.

 

The Social Stratification and Consequences of Intergenerational Caregiving in European Families

Presenter: Marco Albertini, Professor, University of Bologna, Italy

Date and time: October 2, 13:15 CET

Abstract:
TBA


Doing Retiring – The Social Practices of Transiting into Retirement and the Distribution of Transitional Risks

Presenter: Anna Wanka, Research Group Leader, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Date and time: October 16, 13:15 CET

Abstract: Retirement remains one of the major transitions within the life-course. Consequently, a vast body of research has focused on the retirement transition - much of which is quantitative in nature and concerned with retirement age and its effects (e.g. Wetzel et al., 2016) or (institutional) preconditions (e.g. Calvo et al., 2017). These studies exemplify how not only society and politics, but also research struggles with abolishing chronological age as central gateway to studying ageing (cf. Moreira, 2015).
In contrast, post-structuralist approaches in ageing studies understand retirement as contingent and negotiable (cf. Marshall & Katz, 2016). Applying practice theories (cf. Reckwitz, 2003; Schatzki, 2002) puts emphasis on the processual nature of retirement and the ‘in-between’ working and later life, asking: How do older adults organize, experience and ‘do’ retiring? Which human and non-human, discoursive and material actors are involved in re- organizing everyday life?
Empirically, a qualitative longitudinal study (2017-22) that follows 15 older Germans throughout their retirement process is combined with quantitative data from the German Time Use Survey (2008/09). Results show the multi-temporal and multi-agential arrangement of retiring, in which boundaries between (still) working and (already) retired are blurring. Future retirees regard the need to re-structure, and thus subjectively re-gain control over, their everyday lives as a central transitional task. Contradictory retirement discourses between well-deserved ‘golden years’ and productive ageing turns idleness into a guilty pleasure in this re-structuring.

Previous seminars

2024

Importance of Development and Learning at Work for a Long and Healthy Working Life

Presenter: Karina Glies Vincents Seeberg, The National Research Center for the Working Environment, Denmark

Date and Time: 22 May, 13:15 CET

Abstract: The demographics are shifting towards an older population, creating a present and future shortage of qualified workers. Denmark, along with other EU countries, has implemented political reforms over the past two decades to gradually raise the retirement age from 65 to 68 by 2030. With age, the likelihood of poor health rises, posing work challenges. As age increases, so does the number of chronic diseases, elevating the risk of long-term sick leave and early labor market withdrawal.

Work ability reflects the balance between job demands and employee capacity, with chronic diseases contributing to a decline in work ability. Sustaining good work ability is crucial to work until retirement with chronic illnesses. Adapting job demands and enhancing resources through skill development may strengthen this balance, contributing to work ability preservation, reduced sick leave, and prolonged labor market participation.

The project investigates if professional skill development can extend working life, reduce sick leave, and enhance work ability, given the correlation between work ability, illnesses, sick leave, and premature labor market withdrawal.

Broadening Perspectives on Social Integration in Late Adulthood: The DIRe Model Approach

Presenter: Dr. Oliver Huxhold, German Centre of Gerontology, Berlin, Germany

Day and time: 20 March, 13:15 CET

Abstract: Maintaining social integration is crucial for a fulfilling life in late adulthood. Older people who perceive their social relationships either quantitively or qualitatively as lacking may face severe health and well-being consequences. This presentation introduces the Differential Investment of Resources (DIRe) Model as an interdisciplinary framework that surpasses the limitations of most prevailing theories on social development in late adulthood, which tend to focus solely on specific aspects of social relationships. It contends that incorporating a wide array of age-related social processes is essential for a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of social networks throughout adulthood. For example, unlike other existing theories such as socio-emotional selectivity theory and the convoy model that concentrate almost exclusively on close social relationships and family members, the DIRe model also highlights the importance of friends and weak ties in sustaining well-being at older ages. This talk will offer empirical examples to demonstrate the value of adopting such a broad perspective.

Moving towards a sociology of loneliness: the impact of societal change for generational divides

Presenter: Bianca Suanet, Associate Professor, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Day and Time: February 14, 13:15 CET

Abstract: In recent decades, significant societal transformations, notably the rise of individualization and digitalization, have profoundly influenced the experiences of loneliness and social connectivity among older adults. While existing research has predominantly concentrated on individual resources as explanatory factors for loneliness, there has been a notable dearth of attention given to meso and macro-level determinants crucial for comprehending loneliness in contemporary society.

This presentation seeks to illuminate the impact of societal changes on loneliness and social networks, drawing upon data from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) and the Berlin Ageing Studies (BASE). By showcasing examples of generational disparities in loneliness, these findings underscore the intricate interplay between individual and societal characteristics in unraveling the complexities of loneliness throughout the life course.

This shift in focus from solely individual factors to a broader sociological perspective offers a more complete understanding of loneliness, shedding light on the dynamic relationship between personal attributes and the larger societal context.

Care and support needs of older LGBT people. The relevance of social networks and family of choice connections

Presenter: Prof. Dr. Ralf Lottmann, University of Applied Science Magdeburg-Stendal, Germany

Day and time: January 10 2024, 13:15 CET

AbstractThis presentation is based on findings of several research projects, which synthesizes data from research projects conducted in Germany and the UK concerning older lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans* (LGBT*) people and their housing and care preferences (GLEPA, SAFE, and PflewaK). Social networks of older LGBT* people are less shaped by relationships of family of origin compared to heterosexuals. Research has also shown that they are more dependent on long-term care infrastructures but describe feelings of discomfort in their use of these older adult social services because of institutional heterosexism. This presentation focuses on the questions of how reliable social networks of older LGBT* people are regarding social support and care in old age and in what way long-term care infrastructure provides sufficient services for older LGBT people. This presentation will discuss relevant factors of older LGBT* people and their social networks as well as the quality of data sets that can be used to analyse the life situations of older LGBTI* people in Germany.

2023

Exploring the Path to Healthcare Policy Success: Insights from Shanghai's Cognitive Impairment Friendly Community Initiatives

Presenter: Honglin Chen, Professor, University of Eastern Finland, Finland
Date and time: November 15, 15:30 CET 2023

Abstract: During the "14th Five-Year Plan" period, Shanghai will comprehensively promote the construction of dementia-friendly communities for the elderly, focusing on creating a caregiving service pattern of "special zones + communities." By the end of the "14th Five-Year Plan" in 2025, the goal is to achieve full coverage of friendly communities in every street and town. During this period, the city will continue to promote the construction of dementia-friendly urban areas, building a comprehensive, full-chain, and full-process dementia caregiving service system. The aim is to improve the community support network, empowering the older adults with cognitive impairments and their families to live with joy and dignity, thereby enhancing the warmth and precision of elderly care in Shanghai metropolis. On September 21st, 2023, the "International Alzheimer's Day," the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau launched the fifth batch of dementia-friendly community construction pilot projects, which currently cover over 200 streets and towns across the city. This speech will analyze Shanghai's practical experience and a series of issues from the perspective of institutional construction in the field of dementia caregiving.

 

Inequalities in Extending Working Life: The Role of Organisations and Employers

Presenter: Konrad Turek, Assistant Professor, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
Date and time: June 21, 13:15 CET 2023

Abstract: Extending working lives (EWL) is inevitable for all industrialized countries but carries a risk of severe consequences for people who cannot or do not want to work longer. Public policies pay little attention to discrepancies in older people’s abilities, motivation and opportunities to reach the increasing retirement ages. A successful transition to actively ageing societies requires making EWL accessible and beneficial for everybody and designing solutions that prevent the deepening of socioeconomic inequalities at older ages. During this presentation, I consider the nature of these inequalities. Drawing upon the capability approach to inequalities, I consider the tensions between system demand to work longer and individual capabilities to do so. These capabilities develop over the course of life in socially stratified ways. However, they are also shaped within organisations that are mostly considered “black boxes” in inequality studies. Building on theoretical and empirical literature, this presentation aims to provide a better understanding of how employers’ practices and organisational processes can produce or reduce inequalities in older age.

 

Digitalization and Intergenerational Relationships

Presenter: Bruno Arpino, associated professor at the University of Florence, Italy.
Date and time: May 10, 13:15 CET 2023

Abstract:
The seminar will focus on two studies based on panel data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), which includes information on individuals aged 50 and more from different European countries. In the first study, I examine the effect of internet use on the frequency of contact with children. In the second study, I analyse the probability of starting or stopping using the Internet after the transition to grandparenthood. Results show that internet use has a sizable effect on frequency of contact with children, and that having the first grandchild increases the probability of starting to use the Internet. These results point to the fact that intergenerational relationships can both influence and be influenced by the use of digital technologies.

 

Ageism, ableism and older workers

Presenter: Mariska van der Horst, assistant professor at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Date and time: February 8, 13:15 CET 2023

Abstract: In this seminar, Mariska van der Horst will discuss recent and ongoing work on ageism and ableism as it relates to older workers. By disentangling various layers of ageism the aim is to get a better understanding of what ageism is, and how it affects older workers. Because many stereotypes about older people in general and older workers more specific are related to (perceived or expected) health and ability, the question becomes: if there were no ableism, how much ageism would older workers still experience? She will mainly draw on her research with professor Sarah Vickerstaff in their joint work on ageism and ableism funded by the ESRC (ES/S00551X/1), and also look ahead at ongoing work from the Supporting Healthy Ageing at Work (SHAW) project, which is led by professor Wendy Loretto and funded by the UKRI Healthy Ageing Challenge Social, Behavioural and Design Research Programme, grant number (ES/V016148/1).

2022 and before

2022

European macro ageing policies and key questions
Vitalija Gaucaite, former chief of the Population Unit of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)

Social and cognitive aspects of hearing loss in older adults
Henrik Danielsson, professor and research director at the Disability Research Division, Linköping University (Sweden)
14 december.

Exploring the relationship between critical life transitions in older age and multidimesional social exclusion.
Prof. Kieran Walsh, Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, University of Galway, Ireland

The challenges to guarantee sexual rights and sexual behavior in long-term care institutions for older people. 

Prof. Feliciano Villar Posada, University of Barcelona, Spain
16 mars.

Cross-national empirical evidence on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on informal carers in Europe. 
Dr. Giovanni Lamura, Centre for Socio-Economic Research on Ageing, Italian National Institute for the Science on Ageing and Health (INRCA), Italy

Family Conflicts: Love and Hate around Inheritance and Gifts
Dr. Stephan Köppe, University College Dublin, Ireland

2021

Ageing and Social Change (AGE) – Themes and concepts of a new international Master’s programme
Prof. Andreas Motel-Klingebiel and Dr. Indre Genelyte, Linköping University, Division of Ageing and Social Change.

Learning and dementia
Prof. Lars-Christer Hydén and Elias Ingebrand, Linköping University, Division of Ageing and Social Change.

Ageing and communication technologies
Prof. Loredana Ivan, University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Romania.

Aging and Digital Technology – Friends or Foes?
Dr. Stefan T. Kamin, Friedrich-Alexander University (FAU), Germany

Loneliness in older adults – research evidence and future directions
Prof. Dr. Lena Dahlberg, Dalarna University, Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University, Sweden

Using active ageing as a policy response to the challenges of ageing
Dr. Liam Foster, University of Sheffield, UK

 Contact

Research on Ageing and Social Change