S3.7 Perspectives on active ageing
Chair: Thomas Hansen
Background: Technology use and acceptance in older adults in general is influenced by complex factors and circumstances and, based on earlier research, has been summarized in a general model. Aim: To explore the applicability of this model in people after stroke, who used a wearable biofeedback system for gait training at home. Method: 15 stroke survivors (age range: 42-79 years) were interviewed during rehabilitation in the chronic phase (> 6 months after stroke). Participants received gait training at home and to stimulate further independent practice at home, were offered the “Stappy”, an individual biofeedback system. Acceptance of the system was studied using in-depth interviews. Results: Factors from the general model of acceptance of technology in older adults were recognised by participants using this specific rehabilitation technology. Attitude toward/experience with technology, and social support, were important factors influencing the use. Conclusion: The general model of acceptance and use of technology is useful when addressing specific rehabilitation technology.
S3.7.1 Active ageing – Participation in society
Per H. Jensen
Aalborg University, Denmark
The aim of this paper is to discuss prospects and preconditions of active ageing in the area of “Participation in Society” (voluntary activities, care to children and grandchildren, care to older adults, political participation) in Denmark. Three issues will be addressed: Who participates and is participation voluntary or in-voluntary? The aim is to identify potential (supply side) limitations of the active ageing strategy at the individual level (i.e. who and how many are able and willing to participate?). In what areas are older people primarily participating? The aim here is to assess the potential space and limitations of the active ageing strategy in a demand side oriented perspective. Is the pattern of older people’s participation in society a by-product of the state? Here, we will test the extent to which a large welfare state crowds out older peoples engagement in voluntary activities, informal care, and political participation. Findings show that a large welfare state does not impact the magnitude – but the character – of participation. Older people enrolled in active ageing are relatively well educated and healthy, and a distinction must be made between participation in voluntary work and informal care. Care is a public responsibility in Denmark and in this area older people function as helpers “on the margins”. As to voluntary work, older people are primarily engaged in areas such as culture, social work and religion, which are sectors that cannot (except from culture) be expected to grow in the future.
S3.7.2 Dynamics of volunteering and life satisfaction in midlife and old age: Findings
from 12 European countries
Christian Deindl1, Thomas Hansen2, Marja Aartsen2, Britt Slagsvold2
1 TU Dortmund, Germany, 2 NOVA, OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway
Aim: To study the relationship between volunteering and well-being using two waves of data of people aged 50 and above from 12 European countries. We analyze life satisfaction effects of change and stability in volunteering status and in the intensity (frequency) of volunteering, and whether these effects differ between working and retired individuals and across countries. Methods: We combine harmonized data of 18,559 individuals from the first two waves of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement (SHARE, 11 countries) and the Norwegian study on Life course, Ageing, and Generation (NorLAG). Effects of volunteering on life satisfaction (0-10) using linear multilevel models. Results: Life satisfaction is higher among individuals who are stable volunteers or have started volunteering compared with stable non-volunteers. However, we observe similar salutary effects of cessation of volunteering. Similarly, change in the intensity of volunteering does not seem to matter: life satisfaction is similar among those who have increased and those who have decreased their frequency of volunteering. It thus seems to be the experience of volunteering and not the dynamics (i.e., change or persistence) of volunteering that is associated with well-being. The results also suggest life course variation in the association between volunteering and well-being, as the relationship is stronger for older than middle-aged individuals. There is no indication that volunteering has different emotional effects in countries with different rates, cultures, and institutional supports of volunteering. Conclusions: We conclude that associations between volunteering and life satisfaction seem driven both by causation and selection mechanisms.
S3.7.3 Active ageing and age integration
Pearl A. Dykstra1, Maria Fleischmann2
1 Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands, 2 University College London, England
Combining round four data from the European Social Survey (ESS) with indicators of Active Ageing, we examine conditions conducive to age integration. We use both a behavioural and an attitudinal measure of age integration: the prevalence of cross-age friendships and low levels of ageism. The analyses focus on both “younger” (age 18 to 30) and “older” (ages 70 to 90) respondents. Interestingly, high levels of independence, health and security in late life, and greater capacity to actively age rather than high levels of working, volunteering, caring and political engagement among older adults create the greatest opportunities for meaningful cross-age interactions. These findings suggest that quality of life, well-being and autonomy contribute to a general atmosphere facilitating sustained familiarity between older and younger people. Caution is advised in equating high levels of active engagement at advanced ages with conditions enabling durable interactions between young and old, thereby promoting a better understanding of people of different ages. “Productive ageing” will in and of itself not lead to greater age integration.
S3.7.4 Inequality in active ageing outcomes
Centre for European Policy Studies, Brussels, Belgium
Active Ageing is a key policy concern in European countries. Implementing successful active ageing policies are important not only for older individual’s wellbeing, but also for the impact ageing populations will have on public budgets. While there is increasing attention to economic inequalities among older people, little is known about inequality in active ageing outcomes. This presentation addresses this gap. Drawing on recent contributions on active ageing (Barslund et al, 2017; Zaidi et al, 2016), I build an active ageing index at the individual level using data from several waves of the SHARE survey. The individual level index allows for assessing inequality in active ageing outcomes across both space (i.e. at regional level), age and different socio-economic groups. The results point to sizeable inequalities in active ageing outcomes along a number of dimensions. Observed inequalities can be large enough to render average outcomes misleading as they mask different underlying distributions. These insights facilitate the identification of public policy priorities that should target individuals and their subgroups in promoting active ageing outcomes.
S3.7.5 Volunteering among middle-aged and older Norwegians: participation,
motivation, and barriers
Thomas Hansen, Britt Slagsvold
NOVA, OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway
Aim: To study the (i) prevalence of volunteering, (ii) stability and changing in volunteering over time, (iii) motivation of various types of volunteering and levels of commitment, and (iv) perceived opportunities and barriers for volunteering in various age-cohorts. Methods: We use data from the three waves of the Norwegian study on Life course, Ageing, and Generation (NorLAG). The first two waves (2003 and 2008) measured participation in (formal and informal) voluntary work. The third wave data, collected in 2017 and available for analysis in 2018, in addition contains measures of motivation and perceived opportunities and barriers. Whereas t1 and t2 only contains crude measures of volunteering, t3 data includes a detailed list of various volunteer activities, as well as a measure of total time spent volunteering during a typical week. Results: In NorLAG2, participation in formal volunteering (monthly or more often) was higher among people in their 40s (37%) and their 70s (32%), than in the in-between age groups (26-29%). Panel data (t1 and t2) show no significant 5-year change in volunteering among people aged 50-79. Analysis of t3 data will allow a more fine-grained analysis of prevalence rates and stability and change in volunteering for the different forms of volunteer activities. T3 analysis will also shed light on different age cohort’s motivations for volunteering, perceived barriers towards volunteering, and the extent to which they would be willing to commit to volunteering. Conclusion: When it comes to the volunteering contribution of the next generation of older adults, there may be an incongruity between what policy makers expect or desire and reality in terms of this group’s motivation for volunteering. The third wave of the NorLAG study, soon available, will shed new light on the extent to which this generation will come forward as a new “army of volunteers”, and under what conditions.