Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Terra Incognita: Europe’s senior citizens

03.11.2003


The way of life, physical and mental health, and financial and family circumstances of senior citizens are the core topics of the European Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) study, launched last year. Thanks to support from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) an Austrian group was able to join this long-term, international multidisciplinary research project at the start of 2003.

The survey, due to run for a minimum of four years, will involve at least six academic disciplines*, and will be based on interviews with people aged 50 and over. The results will be analysed to provide EU-wide comparisons with the focus on health, mobility, employment, income and savings data. The same people will be questioned on social and economic matters bi-annually, to permit observation of the ageing process over time. Because the interviews will be conducted in a number of European countries, the survey will also enable comparisons to be made between European social networks.

Social policies for an older continent



"Due to the growing share of the elderly as a proportion of the population, financial security and health care provision have become burning social and political issues," noted Professor Rudolf Winter-Ebmer of the Department of Economics at the Johannes Kepler University Linz and the Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna. "Among other things, SHARE will help us to see how Austrians’ saving habits will be affected by pension cuts - whether people are putting enough aside for voluntary retirement provision. It will also be extremely interesting to see what part employment and taxation play," he added. "Moreover, time series data will make it possible to spot trends, so it will be easier to assess and adjust social welfare systems."

Particular importance is attached to the international comparisons. This is because of the similarity of the problems associated with ageing populations, and the increased learning potential from the different responses at national level. For instance, Austria and Germany have taken a lead in cushioning family and financial difficulties caused by patients’ need for home nursing care by establishing public home care insurance schemes. In view of the growing cost of pensions and health care country level cost-benefit analyses should be a productive approach.

Complex ageing process calls for complex research

SHARE will reflect the multidimensional nature of the ageing process by using multidisciplinary methods. Explaining the need for this, Winter-Ebmer said: "Not only can the impact of phenomena like ’retirement shock’ on those concerned vary, but the aspects of life affected can differ, too. A comparison of the physical and mental health of respondents who carry on working after retirement with those who stop from one day to the next could tell us a lot about the importance of the social structures and networks that surround them - and it is just such issues that SHARE addresses."

Researchers from eleven countries** and six disciplines are currently participating in the pan-European research network. Austria has come on board in time to influence research design. However, because membership came too late for EU support under the Fifth Framework Programme the Linz based research team is receiving its funding from the FWF. The project will fill a gap in Austrian social research, as there is a shortage of information about the elderly. "At a time of pension reforms, health care restructuring and changes in the labour market it is becoming increasingly important to know about the behaviour and quality of life of senior citizens," Winter-Ebmer said. By backing such projects the FWF is making a significant contribution to research of great relevance as a basis for social policy decisions.

* Demography, medicine, economics, psychology, sociology and statistics

** Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland

Prof. Rudolf Winter-Ebmer | PR&D
Further information:
http://www.jku.at

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Inselspital: Fewer CT scans needed after cerebral bleeding
20.03.2019 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Building blocks for new medications: the University of Graz is seeking a technology partner
19.03.2019 | Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The taming of the light screw

DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.

The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...

Im Focus: Magnetic micro-boats

Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.

The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...

Im Focus: Self-healing coating made of corn starch makes small scratches disappear through heat

Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.

Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Solving the efficiency of Gram-negative bacteria

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Bacteria bide their time when antibiotics attack

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Open source software helps researchers extract key insights from huge sensor datasets

22.03.2019 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>