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Social aspects of dementia are becoming increasingly important as part of a wider shift in emphasis from cure to care. This is partly because approaches based on finding a cure have proved far more difficult and complex than originally imagined (WHO, 2016). New evidence on the effectiveness of public health measures, that while incidence is growing as the proportion of older people in society increases its prevalence amongst older adults is actually falling, has also lead to increased interest in social dimensions of prevention, lifestyle change, and practical intervention in community settings (Prince et al., 2016; Kivipelto et al., 2017). This, in turn, has led to a rediscovery of the role of supports to people living with dementia in their daily lives, the needs of informal carers, and professional activities that can maintain the social engagement of each party (Winblad et al., 2016). The expansion of practice around person-centered care, beyond traditional institutional settings, has also contributed to a socialized view of how interactions in dementia care are thought about (Bartlett et al., 2017), as has an increased awareness of the effects of the social construction of dementia in the public mind (Biggs, 2018). Most recently, people living with dementia, and particularly with respect to younger onset dementia, have begun to find a voice and to make connections to the wider disability movement (Dementia Alliance International, 2017). Each of these developments, in their different ways, have led to a re-emphasis on psycho-social elements of dementia, its experience, and how that might translate into clinical practice and service delivery.
A shift toward public health responses to dementia, raises questions about the most appropriate approaches to specific population groups. We examined perspective and age as elements in effective campaigning. Implications from the standpoint of the recipient are drawn for public health education and practice.
In-depth semi-structured face-to-face and telephone interview with self-selected participants recruited via adverts, contact with provider organizations and cards placed in retail and service settings. Questions focused on attitudes to dementia and expectations of public campaigning and education.
Community-dwelling adults were interviewed across five Australian states.
A total of 111 people from 5 target groups: people with dementia (n = 19), carers (n = 28), care work and service professionals from healthcare (n = 21), social work (n = 23) and commercial service professions (n = 20) involving people in younger adulthood (n = 13), early midlife (n = 23), later midlife (n = 54), and older age (n = 21).
All interviews were transcribed and analyzed thematically by three researchers, reaching consensus before coding and further analysis in NVivo. Narrative analysis of transcripts included 330 topics relating to 6 main areas of focus.
Attitudes and views on effective future campaigning reflected a desire for greater social inclusion, but did not focus on prevention and health services. Professionals focused on increasing interpersonal skills, people with dementia on normalization, and carers on awareness-raising.
Public health campaigning and education in relation to dementia, could benefit from closer consideration of perspective and age of recipient in intervention design. Interpersonal skills and social inclusion were identified as key issues.
A controversy at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress on the topic of closing domestic ivory markets (the 007, or so-called James Bond, motion) has given rise to a debate on IUCN's value proposition. A cross-section of authors who are engaged in IUCN but not employed by the organization, and with diverse perspectives and opinions, here argue for the importance of safeguarding and strengthening the unique technical and convening roles of IUCN, providing examples of what has and has not worked. Recommendations for protecting and enhancing IUCN's contribution to global conservation debates and policy formulation are given.
Issues related to population ageing and longer working lives span diverse research areas and are linked to a number of conceptual and policy debates. Here we provide details of texts which allow quick access to key debates in the different domains covered by the contributions. We focus first on social policy, retirement and pensions. We then provide key sources on the changing experiences and perceptions of retirement; age-discrimination, human resource management and older workers; and early exit, mature-age unemployment and activating older workers.
Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, the relationship between work and ageing has become increasingly visible as a policy issue. It is both reflected in and influenced by changes in macro-economic policy, life-opportunities and social attitudes associated with growing older, as a combination of falling birth rates and increased longevity, and has put pressure on the traditional parameters of the working age. The idea of retiring at a fixed point in the life-course, to enjoy a period of rest or leisure at the end of a working life, emerged in many advanced economies during the 1900s and evolved into policies that encouraged early retirement as the baby-boomers entered the jobs market in the 1960s and 1970s (Phillipson and Smith, 2005). Early retirement, itself a relatively recent development, gave rise to the possibility of a ‘third age’ of leisure and active ageing (Laslett, 1987), but as demographic and economic changes make themselves felt, it is again becoming an uncertain prospect for many older workers (Biggs and McGann, 2015).
The number of mature-age Australians registered with employment services is growing, with mature-age jobseekers spending longer unemployed and on income support than younger jobseekers. However, the role of employment services in extending working lives has so far received little attention in policy discourses on ageing and employment. This article examines the effectiveness of Australia's employment services system in supporting mature-age jobseekers, drawing upon interviews conducted as part of wider research on unemployment and underemployment in mature-age. We find that the overriding experience among mature-age jobseekers’ is of a system that exudes ‘carelessness’. We situate mature-age jobseekers’ experiences of systemic carelessness within the context of wider welfare reforms that have contributed to the de-professionalisation and routinisation of employment services’ delivery.
A major theme within social gerontology is how retirement ‘is being re-organised, if not undone’. Institutional supports for retirement are weakening, with pension ages rising in many countries. Increasing numbers of older workers are working past traditional retirement age on a part-time or self-employed basis, and a growing minority are joining the ranks of the long-term unemployed. Drawing upon narrative interviews with older Australians who are involuntarily non-employed or underemployed, this article explores how the ‘unravelling’ of retirement is experienced by a group of older workers on the periphery of the labour market. While policy makers hope that higher pension ages will lead to a longer period of working life, the risk is that older workers, especially those experiencing chronic insecurity in the labour market, will be caught in a netherworld between work and retirement.
How to respond to an ageing society has become an increasingly important question, for employers, workers and policy makers. Here we critically engage with that debate, arguing that future approaches to the relationship between work and age should take into account multiple influences on older worker behaviour, including the combination of economic, lifecourse and personal priorities. We consider the international consensus that has emerged about the primacy of work as the solution to what to do with a long life. We then address the uncertain nature of work as it affects older workers, and discuss the commodification of time in relation to a productivist approach to demographic ageing and the attitudes of older workers themselves. A tension is noted between pressures for continuity and discontinuity within the adult lifecourse which is often eclipsed within a policy discourse that tends to focus on continuity as a route to social legitimacy. Thinking about life-time as a meta-narrative, a tension between existential life priorities and commodification, may help to explain the ease with which ‘live longer–work longer’ policies both dominate and obscure the potential of a long life. Finally, we examine the implications for work–life balance and suggest this needs to be radically re-thought when addressing the purpose of a longer working life and the promise of a long life in general.
The relationship between work and family is considered with an emphasis on policy solutions. Australian policy is a case example in the context of international trends. A mismatch between policy initiatives and familial and personal priorities constitutes a new social risk associated with demographic and sociocultural development. Contemporary trends, both nationally and internationally, evidence solutions to the “problem of demographic aging” by adopting a form of economic instrumentalism. This restricts legitimate age identities to those associated with work and work-related activity. When applied to family life, such a focus runs the risk of reducing policy interest in intergenerational engagement to unpaid care roles, while personal development and age-related life priorities are ignored. The need for cultural adaptation to population aging is becoming accepted in policy debate and is considered here as an effective response to the personal, social, and economic risks of population aging and associated impacts on family life.
There is a contradiction at the heart of digital art making, regarding its temporal mediality and relationship with a mainstream visual arts practice that values permanence. Why do we wish to preserve something temporal and fleeting? Will the preservation of digital works contribute to a process of commodification that many media artists have sought to avoid by embracing the ephemeral nature of digital media? Are there reasons that would justify preserving digital works of art when, for some artists, redundancy is a key principle in their practice?
A cultural determinacy?
Art is generally valued according to a set of established criteria that include authenticity, originality, craft skill, uniqueness, rarity, provenance and state of preservation. Modernist artists, as early as Dada but more often since, have sought to question or overturn these criteria and establish alternative value systems, where mass production, appropriation, temporality, decay and transience are foregrounded. Established artists as diverse as Tristan Tzara, Kurt Schwitters, Andy Warhol, Judy Chicago, Donald Judd, Robert Smithson, Joseph Beuys, Carolee Schneeman and Nam June Paik have, through various strategies of production, contextualization and mediation, proffered alternative models of artistic value.
Smithson's Spiral Jetty stands as an emblematic work in this regard –unownable, more or less impossible to preserve, being subject to the vagaries of its environment, produced employing heavy earth-moving equipment and regularly transformed through natural weathering and chemical processes – perhaps the only conventional criterion of value such a work sustains is its singularity and thus rarity value. Spiral Jetty stands as one of the iconic postwar American art works, a touchstone for generations of artists since, probably because it breaches so many of the established values we conventionally associate with art objects.
The digital arts share many characteristics with work like Smithson’s. The digital and media arts have their roots in 1970s post-modern culture – the first generation of media artists, including Robert Breer (recently deceased), Pauline Oliveros, Stan van der Beek, the Whitneys, Paik and many others, often members of Fluxus, emerged during the 1960s and were central to an artistic culture that would prove influential beyond its domain, feeding into conventional visual art practices as well as other disciplines, such as music, literature and performance, and facilitating the emergence of novel art forms. These artists focused on process and action, not craft and the final artefact.
Background: Elder mistreatment, social ageism, and human rights are increasingly powerful discourses in positioning older people in society, yet the relationship between them has rarely been subjected to critical investigation. This perceived relationship will have implications for how mistreatment is understood and responded to.
Method: Critical gerontological approach based on narrative and textual analysis.
Results: Reports of public attitudes toward mistreatment suggest that it is thought to be more common than scientific evidence would suggest; however, reporting is much lower than prevalence. While the discourse over mistreatment has tended to focus on interpersonal relationships, ageism has emphasized social attitudes, and human rights have concentrated on relations between the state and the individual.
Conclusions: In this paper, a series of models have been examined which mark a tendency to restrict and then attempt to reintegrate individual, interpersonal, and social levels of analysis. It is concluded that a focus on the processes of transaction across boundaries rather than contents would facilitate both integrative modeling and deeper understanding of the qualities of abusive situations.
This article considers changing perceptions of adult ageing and their interpretation in social policy. Once wider international trends are outlined, Australian policy is used as a case example. It is argued that a mismatch between policy initiatives and personal change is a new social risk associated with demographic and socio-cultural development, having implications for the way in which social ageism and age discrimination should be considered. The article concludes with a consideration of new directions that a critical, life course sensitised approach to social policy might take.
Spirituality is positively linked to health and well-being in later life, particularly among older adults of black ethnic groups. However, definitions of spirituality in the literature have largely been theoretically informed, rather than based on the views of older people themselves. We examined the spiritual perspectives of Black Caribbean and White British older adults based on in-depth interviews with 34 individuals aged between 60 and 95 years. Our aim was to develop a spiritual typology to add to an understanding of the process of spirituality in later life. Findings showed that Black Caribbean older individuals mostly defined spirituality in relation to their belief in a transcendent God, whereas White British older individuals tended to draw upon a wider range of spiritual, religious or secular notions. A spirituality typology in later life captured four categories of relationship, between ‘God to self’, ‘self to God’, ‘self to universe’ and ‘self to life’. The typology highlights the central role of ethnicity in shaping spiritual perspectives in later life, and identifies the multidimensional nature of spirituality among older adults, reflecting in part a developmental process, although a process which is socially and culturally constructed.
This paper introduces some key theoretical and methodological developments in the study of intergenerational family relations. It draws on observations that a number of social issues are emerging that have an intergenerational dimension, that there is growing recognition that to study adult ageing one has also to study intergenerational relationships, and that a new architecture for social relations is beginning to take shape in the wake of demographic change. How individuals, families and societies cope with such changes provokes the question of how gerontologically-informed research, theorisation and policy will also adapt. Seven positions are summarised which attempt two things. First, to map out some new conceptual directions for intergenerational research through a critical use of concepts such as transition, generational self-awareness and empathy, metaphors of cultural translation, and the deployment of social and moral capital. Second, to examine changing gender roles, the balance between family and welfare-state support frameworks, ethnicity and immigration as important elements of this process. A critical review of approaches to intergenerational relationships hopefully emerges.
The purpose of this article is to examine an emerging model of intergenerational relationships that takes as its starting point the degree to which it is possible to place oneself in the position of a person of another age, the ‘age-other’. The paper explores an experiential approach that draws on both sociological thinking on ‘generational consciousness’ and a debate in family gerontology on the relationships between conflict, solidarity and ambivalence. The main emphasis is on the processes of generational experience, and a working distinction is made between the informational ‘intelligence’ that is culturally available to social actors and the degree to which it is possible ‘to act intelligently’. The latter itemises the steps that would need to be taken to become critically self-aware of age as a factor in social relations, including the relative ability to recognise one's personal generational distinctiveness, acquiring understanding of the relationship between generations, critical awareness of the value stance being taken toward generational positions, and finally, acting in a manner that is generationally aware. The paper concludes with a consideration of how sustainable generational relations can be encouraged and the implications for future research into intergenerational relationships.
This paper critically reflects upon policy and research definitions of elder mistreatment in light of the findings of the United Kingdom Study of Abuse and Neglect of Older People that was commissioned by Comic Relief with co-funding from the Department of Health. The study uniquely comprised a national survey and follow-up qualitative research with survey respondents. This paper focuses on the findings of the qualitative component. One focus is the idea of ‘expectation of trust’, with an argument being made that the concept needs clarification for different types of relationships. It is particularly important to distinguish between trust in affective relationships and ‘positions of trust’ (as of paid carers), and to articulate the concept in terms that engage with older people's experiences and that are meaningful for different relationship categories. The qualitative research also found that ascriptions of neglect and abuse tend to be over-inclusive, in some instances to avoid identifying institutional and service failures. We also question the role and relevance of the use of chronological age in the notion of ‘elder abuse’. Given that ‘abuse’, ‘neglect’ and ‘expectation of trust’ are ill-defined and contested concepts, we recommend that although consistent definitions are important, especially for research into the epidemiology and aetiology of the syndrome and for informed policy discussion, they will unavoidably be provisional and pragmatic.
To investigate the short- and long-term effectiveness and the predictors of weight loss in a mobile phone weight-loss programme among healthy overweight adults.
One hundred and twenty-five healthy, overweight (BMI = 26–36 kg/m2), 25–44-year-old, screened volunteers were randomized to an experimental group (n 62) to use a mobile phone-operated weight-loss programme or to a control group (n 63) with no intervention. Via text messaging, the programme instructed a staggered reduction of food intake and daily weight reporting with immediate tailored feedback. Assessments were at 0, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months for the experimental group; at 0 and 12 months for the control group. Main outcome variables were changes in body weight and waist circumference.
By 12 months the experimental group had lost significantly more weight than the control group (4·5 (sd 5·0) v. 1·1 (sd 5·8) kg; F(1,80) = 8·0, P = 0·006) and had a greater reduction in waist circumference (6·3 (sd 5·3) v. 2·4 (sd 5·4) cm; F(1,80) = 55·2, P = 0·0001). Early weight loss, self-efficacy, contact frequency, attitudes towards the medium, changes in work and family life and changes made in dietary habits were the strongest predictors of weight loss.
This mobile phone weight-loss programme was effective in short- and long-term weight loss. As a minimum-advice, maximal-contact programme, it offers ideas for future weight-loss programmes.
The background and planned research activities are outlined for a new UK research consortium focused on Decommissioning, Immobilisation And Management Of Nuclear-wastes for Disposal (DIAMOND). This consortium is the first integrated trans-disciplinary and multi-institution academic research network in the UK, focused on nuclear waste management.