Ageing and Social Change (AGE) – Themes and concepts of a new international Master’s programme
Prof. Andreas Motel-Klingebiel and Dr. Indre Genelyte
December 1, 2021
Learning and dementia
Prof. Lars-Christer Hydén and Elias Ingebrand
People living with dementia often face assumptions about their capabilities in everyday activities and interactions. With little consideration regarding the heterogeneity of the clinical population, the general view of people living with dementia is made akin to severe and irrevocable loss of cognitive functions and an idea of diminished or vanished identity (Hydén, 2016). One assumption, that to a large extend has been unquestioned, is that people living with dementia are incapable of achieving novel learning. This presentation builds on Ingebrand's ongoing PhD project, and the focus is on how learning can be conceptualized and studied in everyday activities involving people living with dementia.
December 8, 2021
Ageing and communication technologies
By Professor Loredana Ivan, University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Romania.
In our information society, media use plays an important role. However, knowledge is lacking about whether different birth cohorts show preferences for specific traditional or new media. We provide empirical evidence for the concept of ‘technology generations’ formulated by Sackmann & Weymann (1994; 2013) in relation to media use by older adults. We tested differences in media use and media preferences in Austria, Canada, Denmark, Israel, the Netherlands, Romania and Spain, using commensurate samples consisting of Internet users aged 60 years and older (N=10527). Our cross-cultural data reveal differences between the technology generations, especially in terms of media use, but not in media preferences (time spent using different media). We also found the effect of country of origin to be stronger than the effect of generation in explaining older adults’ preferences for traditional/vs new media.
The results point to the need for a more nuanced view of the concept of ‘technology generation’, when taking into account some contextual aspects, that would differentiate the way different age cohorts incorporate technologies in their lives.
October 6, 2021.
Aging and Digital Technology – Friends or Foes?
By Dr. Stefan T. Kamin, Friedrich-Alexander University (FAU), Germany
European countries experience two remarkable dynamics:
(1) increases in life expectancy coupled with an increased population aging; and
(2) rapid digitalization processes that affect various aspects of daily life.
Exploring the interplay between both dynamics has become a major pillar in gerontological research. That is because using (or not using) digital technology is assumed to involve benefits as well as risks to individual aging processes in modern societies. However, we know little about how the digitalization is associated with the variability of health-related and psychological outcomes in later life.
In the first part of this talk, I will provide an overview of my research to investigate beneficial implications and consequences of digital technology use among older adults. Based on nationwide representative panel studies such as the German Ageing Survey (DEAS) or the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), I will empirically illustrate how the use of digital technology is positively associated with outcomes in cognitive and socioemotional domains of functioning. However, technology is not always a friend of old age, and therefore I will discuss dysfunctional and not intended consequences for the older person in the second part of my presentation.
May 19, 2021.
Loneliness in older adults – research evidence and future directions
By Prof. Dr. Lena Dahlberg, Dalarna University, Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University, Sweden
April 14, 2021.
Using active ageing as a policy response to the challenges of ageing
By Dr. Liam Foster, University of Sheffield, UK
Using active ageing as a policy response to the challenges of ageing ‘Active ageing’ has been a key strategy for responding to demographic ageing in Europe. This is in contrast to the United States where discourses around successful ageing have dominated.
This presentation will initially consider some of the key challenges and responses associated with demographic ageing, with particular reference to the UK. It will define and chart the development of active ageing responses to demographic change. In practice, it will show how active ageing has been dominated by a narrow economic or productivist perspective that prioritizes the extension of working life and reducing the ‘burden’ of population ageing. Such interpretations of active ageing undermine the value of a more comprehensive approach to active ageing.
It will explore the development of the Active Ageing Index in 2012, and show that its operation has tended to reaffirm age-based categories associated with ageing, failing to engage with the importance of the life course in shaping the experience of old age.
Nevertheless, it will argue that active ageing still has an important role to play in our understanding of and responses to ageing, and outline the basic principles that need to be followed if the full potential of active aging is to be realized. In particular, it argues that it should be central to policy strategies aimed at improving older people’s well-being.
March 17, 2021.