Has the Representation of Older Women Changed in Contemporary Popular Culture?

International Woman’s Day this year got me thinking about how older women are represented in popular culture. Every eighth of March we celebrate the achievements of women from across the world regardless of their religious, ethnic, cultural, economic and political background. Social media is bombarded by images of young vibrant women, laughing and celebrating. But what about older women? Where are the images of them? Are we celebrated and praised irrespective of our age? Or do older women remain ‘invisible’? Read more

The Importance of Family in Latin America

This is the story of our times, the story of the family, once a dense cluster of many siblings and extended kin, fragmenting into ever smaller and more fragile forms. The initial result of that fragmentation, the nuclear family, didn’t seem so bad. But then, because the nuclear family is so brittle, the fragmentation continued. In many sectors of society, nuclear families fragmented into single-parent families, single-parent families into chaotic families or no families’. Read more

Dipping into the Political Economy of Adult Learning Systems

I’m guessing that most people who read this blog will be familiar with Esping-Andersen’s typology of welfare regimes. The distinction between liberalconservative and social democratic welfare regimes has provided more than one generation of researchers with a tool for investigating the ways in which structural differences in the relations between market and state affect various outcomes of interest – such as loneliness or social exclusion or active ageing. Although the typology has been widely used in multi-level analyses that try to tease apart the influence of important characteristics of individuals and features of the society in which they live, there is one major policy area that seems to have fallen by the wayside, and that is education. Read more

Debating a Transparent British ‘carescape’ for health and social care reform

A story about British Social Care…. I recently shadowed a community nurse. I watched as she worked to enable a man with only one  week left of his life to be carried from his bedroom to a downstairs living room where on the TV was  football – his joy.   It took three hours of searching for her to find the assistance she needed, until  finally, an ambulance crew volunteered to help after their shift was over, to make the man’s hope come true. They were thanked with a large tin of biscuits funded by the community nurse herself. Read more

Changing parameters of inclusive design

Exactly 20 years ago, I was involved in a landmark project at the Royal College of Art with retail giant B&Q to develop a range of low-cost, lightweight, easy-to-use power tools that would make it easier for older people to carry out basic home improvements. Read more

The facts behind the headlines

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a traumatic experience at all levels – for individuals, families, communities and governments. The numbers are beyond the grasp of most of us, globally, around 250 million cases and almost 5 million deaths. Read more

Integrating stable and modifiable aspects of resilience into healthy aging

Of the many challenges in life course epidemiology is unpacking the complex interrelationships between stable and modifiable attributes across a lifetime of unique experiences and exposures that impact the health and wellbeing of older adults. Read more

Why didn’t the abolition of the One-Child Policy in China increase the fertility rate?

Responding to a dramatic decrease in the birth rate, the Chinese government announced on 31st May 2021 that couples would be permitted to have up to three children. This change follows the relaxation of birth control policies in 2015 when the long-standing ‘One-child’ policy was replaced by a ‘Two-child’ policy. Although there was a small short-term increase in the birth immediately after the introduction of the new ‘Two-child’ policy regime, it wasn’t sustained. The birth rate returned to a downward trajectory, reaching its lowest ever level of 10.48 births per 1,000 women in 2019.  So why is fertility in China not just staying low but continuing to fall? Read more

ICD-11 and an argument about “old age”

The translation of WHO’s latest revision of the International  Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) into Portuguese, published with a declaration that it will be adopted in Brazil from the beginning of 2022, has caused uproar among the country’s specialists and academics in the field of gerontology.  The bone of contention is the inclusion of “old age” as a possible diagnosis within the classification. Not only have there been public debates on the matter, but now there is a public campaign movement to try and have the code (MG2A) removed altogether. Read more

A COVID-19 catch-22: Challenges and opportunities of social connection technologies

Having just crossed the threshold of a year since COVID-19 became a global pandemic, there has been ample time to observe the ways in which technology has been used as a means of fostering social connectedness.  As a result of widespread restrictions on face-to-face contact, social isolation and loneliness have become increasingly salient issues for the general population and a particularly pressing issue for older adults. Beyond the pandemic, social isolation and loneliness have been associated with a host of negative outcomes, particularly with respect to mental health. We are now seeing the negative effects on mental health as a result of the pandemic. Read more