S7.3 Old age social exclusion – insights into the ROSEnet initiative
Chair: Päivi Topo
Social exclusion is a framework for understanding the complexity of disadvantage across various domains. The risks of exclusion that older people face are widening and deepening. There are gaps in the understandings old-age exclusion that exist across Europe. The existing knowledge lacks synthesis and is spread across disparate disciplines. The ROSEnet COST action - established in 2016 - aims to overcome fragmentation and gaps in conceptual innovation on old-age exclusion across the life course, in order to address the research-policy disconnect and tackle social exclusion amongst older people in Europe. The action engages over 100 researchers and policy stakeholders from 39 different countries. It aims to synthesize existing knowledge; critically investigate the construction of life-course old-age exclusion; assess the implications of old-age exclusion across the life course; develop conceptual frameworks on old-age exclusion; and identify innovative, and implementable, policy and practice for reducing old-age exclusion. This symposium - which brings together some of the Nordic researchers involved in ROSEnet aims to (1) introduce the multifaceted approach to old-age social exclusion and raise awareness of some of the angles of exclusion that deserve attention and (2) present research findings on social exclusion in social relations, civic rights and economic issues.
S7.3.1 Active aging policies and the active aging index: what the social exclusion lens can offer Sandra Torres, Uppsala University, Sweden
Uppsala University, Sweden
The launching of the concept of successful aging in gerontological research, policy and practice gave way to a variety of policies on active, productive and healthy aging across the world. These policies have been launched as universal one size fits all solutions to the challenges that population aging entail and have generated, for example, measurements to assess how different aging populations are flaring in comparison to one another. At the core of these policies are values that are often associated with highly industrialized societies which attribute great importance to independence, activity, future-orientation and the mastering of illness/ diseases in old age. This raises the question of these policies’ appropriateness for populations that do not share these values and whose life-course is not characterized by the continuity that the successful aging paradigm presupposes. This presentation uses the framework of old age social exclusion that the COST-Action ROSENet is working with in order to argue that the social position of privilege that these policies take for granted is exclusionary in itself and runs therefore the risk of augmenting inequalities as opposed to addressing them.
S7.3.2 Trends in social exclusion among older women and men in Sweden
Lena Dahlberg1,2, Kevin J. McKee2, Johan Fritzell, Carin Lennartsson
1Aging Research Center, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm University, Sweden, 2Dalarna University, Sweden
Background: Reviews have identified a lack of gender perspective in social exclusion research. This paper will examine trends over time in the levels of social exclusion across different life domains for older women and men in Sweden. Methods: Data on indicators of social exclusion were analysed from respondents aged 76+ years who participated in the 1992, 2002 and 2011 waves of the nationally representative Swedish Panel Study of Living Conditions of the Oldest Old (SWEOLD). Results: There was evidence of a gender different in exclusion from material resources and civic activities, from which women were more often excluded than men. Regardless of gender there were improvements in access to material resources, such as owning a house/apartment. Social contacts decreased over time, while engagement in cultural activities and going to restaurants increased. Conclusions: Trends in social exclusion in older adults over the last 20 years are dependent on the domain considered. Over a range of indicators, older women were more vulnerable to exclusion than men, which needs to be taken into account in policy to combat exclusion.
S7.3.3 Pressing issues for policy and practice to reduce social exclusion
NOVA, OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway
ROSEnet aims to overcome fragmentation and critical gaps in conceptual innovation on old-age exclusion across the life course, in order to address the research-policy disconnect and tackle social exclusion amongst older people in Europe. One important pillar of ROSEnet is therefore to connect research and practice, in order to identify effective and implementable policy and practice for reducing old-age exclusion amongst different groups of older people. This presentation highlights the most pressing issues for policy and practice, such as the need for a whole system approach, prevention or interventions across the life course, hard to reach groups in deprived neighborhoods, and the silent and invisible group of abused elderly within the households.
S7.3.4 Voluntary work and social exclusion: barriers and promoters
Päivi Topo, Erja Rappe, Jere Rajaniemi
Age Institute, Finland
Background: In 2015 about 40% of people aged 65-79 years were involved in voluntary work in Finland. The aim of the presentation is to identify barriers and promoters in participation in voluntary work in old age. Methods: 42 persons who acted as trained voluntary group leaders in health enhancing physical activities for older persons with some problems in functioning responded to a survey on organizing health exercise groups in 2016. They were older than 62 years and lived in different parts of the country. The same survey was also responded by 31 professionals who ran similar groups. Descriptive statistics were applied. Documentation of the training programs offered for volunteers and their feedback were analysed by content analyses. Results: The group leaders needed multiple skills in organizing and leading group activities and the respondents of the survey were relatively highly educated. The training for voluntary work gave a possibility for lifelong learning and the activities could be demanding. Conclusions: Voluntary work is essential for ageing societies and thus, there is a need for inclusive organizational models of voluntary work to ensure that it is accessible for older people with different socioeconomic backgrounds.
S7.3.5 Social relations and exclusion in front of death
Sofia Sarivaara, Marjaana Seppänen
University of Helsinki, Finland
Background: The aim of the research is to study how the social relations of an older adult are reconstructed during the process of dying. The focus is on the views of the dying person and his/her caregiving spouse. How does the meaning of the relations change in this specific situation? Does the situation enhance exclusion from existing relations or do the social relations get new expressions? Methods: The research is based on narrative interviews of dying people and their spouses, including both individual and pair interviews. Additionally, we used Pictor -visual technique where participants construct a representation of relationships using arrow-shaped adhesive notes or cards. Results: Approaching death affects the social relations of both dying persons and their caregivers. There mutual relationship changes as well as the relationships with other people. We identified processes of exclusion from existing relations. At the same time, new and sometimes unexpected relations were initiated and could became meaningful and supportive. Conclusion: The social needs of dying people and their caregivers should be taken into account in the service system including different services in connection to death and dying.