Engaged in the world

Population aging has a profound influence on the economic status, family resilience, and caring capacity of nations, communities, and citizens of all ages. In turn, economic recession and changing family structures have profound influences on international patterns of migration. Some of the main challenges of aging around the world emerge from and will be resolved by attention to the social. Our understanding of place, of people in place, of intergenerational family and community relations, and of cultural settings means that social scientists are in a good position to highlight issues of aging that have international importance.

The Global Social Initiative on Ageing (GSIA), Directed by Norah Keating and endorsed by the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG), was launched in March 2011 in response to an interest among social science members of IAGG in highlighting regional and international issues in social, cultural and humanist aspects of aging.

Key areas:

  • Families. There is great concern in many regions about the abilities of families to sustain intergenerational support in the face of poverty, pandemics, and changing family structures and beliefs. Objective: To identify global trends in discourses and realities of family strengths and obligations, toward creating strategies for strengthening and supporting them.
  • Liveability. Global shifts in world economies toward the individualization of risk have led to increased income disparities, older adults who are left behind in migratory transitions, and widening north-south divides.Objective: To identify trends in inclusion/exclusion of older adults from material resources (income, adequate food and shelter), and the impact of these trends on their survival and citizenship.
  • Caregiving. Population ageing and the erosion or absence of social welfare provisions have resulted in increasing social and economic costs experienced by family/friend carers, paid carers, workplaces and governments arising from caring for frail older adults. Objective: To document diverse regional challenges in managing care to frail older adults and to work towards an appropriate balance between formal and informal care systems.
Each of these main themes has three priority areas which will provide focus for GSIA research and capacity building activities over the next few years. To join the Global Network of Social Researchers in Aging email Constance de Seynes at the IAGG Secretariat seynes@cict.fr