Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN01_08: Health in Old Age
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Jenni Spännäri, University of Helsinki
Location: UP.3.204
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Third Floor Oxford Road

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Grey Divorce and Health of Older Adults in Europe

Martina Štípková

University of West Bohemia, Czech Republic

Quality of life is closely related to the social relationships of individuals. This paper focuses on persons aged 50+ and analyses their subjective health in relation to their marital status. In particular, the effects of divorce and widowhood are analysed. Bereavement is known to have an adverse impact on health and wellbeing. The consequences of losing a partner through divorce are, however, much less understood, despite the fact that divorce at a later age is becoming more common. I assume that divorce is less harmful than death of a spouse because it is a voluntary decision (at least of one of the spouses). Decisions of older adults regarding partnership do not involve considerations about wellbeing of dependent children and increasingly reflect their personal life preferences. I use longitudinal data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe. The dependent variable is self-rated health and the main independent variables are marital status and gender. I control for the effect of age, labour market participation, financial situation and parenthood. Preliminary results seem to confirm the hypothesis. Married individuals tend to have the best health. As expected, divorce has a less negative effect on health than widowhood. The gap between divorce and widowhood is wider among men than among women. There is a variation in the effects across countries which I aim to explain by using macro variables that measure divorce prevalence and values climate in the countries.

Overcoming Vulnerability and Achieving Wellbeing among Older Migrants and Natives in Switzerland

Oana Ciobanu, Marie Baeriswyl

University of Geneva, Switzerland

This paper will compare elderly persons with high vulnerability that report a high wellbeing in old age, and persons with a comparable vulnerability that report a low wellbeing. In this way, the paper aims to understand how and why some elderly cope with and overcome vulnerability and others not. The paper will explore the impact of migration on vulnerability, wellbeing and resilience in old age.

To address these interdisciplinary issues, the paper will draw on data from the survey “Vivre-Leben-Vivere: Old Age Democratisation? Progresses and Inequalities in Switzerland” (VLV) conducted in 2011/2012 in Switzerland. This includes a representative sample of elderly persons and a large sub-sample of older migrants.

A first interesting result is that those who are vulnerable are very diverse with regard to their wellbeing. The results are relevant due to the innovative empirical analysis of divergence and convergence in wellbeing among people who have high vulnerability. Our paper goes further to explore the factors leading to high or low wellbeing for people with comparable vulnerabilities. This allows us to understand why disadvantages accumulate for some and not for others.

The novelty of the paper consists in the comparison between older migrants and natives. Furthermore, we take a life-course approach to understanding vulnerability and resilience.

Health and Social Needs of Polish Women in the Subsequent Phases of Aging

Zofia Antonina Slonska

Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński Institute of Cardiology, Poland

Usually the phase of procreation, due to its great importance for the society development , focuses attention of systems, institutions and families. It doesn’t mean that other phases of women’s life, and specifically phases of aging, don’t create any threats of health and social nature . The aim of the study was to identify social and health problems faced by Polish women aged 50+ in their subsequent stages of aging and assess their relations with the process of dynamic Polish population aging. The analysed data come mainly from data officially published by the Central Statistical Office's (GUS) and some other reports.

Currently, the most serious problem, specifically in the absence of adequate care system in Poland, seems to be the growing number of women aged 80+ usually needing health and social support. In 2050 Poles aged 80+ will account for 10.4% of the general population, which means 3.5 million people, and the share of women in their 80s will be 65% in cities and 62% in the countryside. The transition of women into the phases of old age is associated with an increased risk of suffering from chronic diseases, the occurrence of multiple disorders, disability, dependence on others, poverty, marginalization, exclusion and violence. In the face of the diminishing in Poland the care potential of family, traditionally responsible for the care of children, the elderly, the sick and the disabled, there is amongst others an urgent need to support families, by undertaking a series of activities necessary for the rapid development of the institutional care system.

Long Term Consequences Of Accommodation Histories On Later Life Health Within Different European Contexts

Christian Deindl, Morten Wahrendorf

Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf, Germany

In order to fully understand the impact of socio-economic conditions on later life health the entire life course has to be taken into account. In our analyses we will concentrate on accommodation history. Housing reflects the social position of an individual as well as his / her social origins and life course trajectories. What makes housing even more interesting is that it is influenced by the family and the welfare state. Parents often help their children to buy a house with financial transfers, and houses are also frequently part of a bequest. Rent regulations, social housing or taxes for home owners are state means to regulate housing. As a result of different policies, there are huge differences between countries in the prevalence and preferences of certain accommodation types and housing assets. We will use life course data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Society (SHARE) to disentangle the impact if housing histories on later life health within different socio-economic contexts. Later life health will be considered as mental health as measured via the Euro-D Scale. Housing histories will capture the timing and the duration of specific stages (rent, ownership, etc.). The impact of country context will be measured as economic conditions in the countries based on the GDP during childhood years, young adulthood and midlife. First results show that housing reflects cumulative inequality over the life course with owners reporting better health outcomes.