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Conceptualizing Ageing


Thu 27. 8.  16:00 - 17:30
room FA 204

The transition between third and fourth age as a transition into a frailty and loss of agency


Petrová Kafková, Marcela
Office for Population Studies, Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University, Czech Republic

The fourth age basically embodies all of the fears of ageing; it brings frailty, helplessness, and loss of autonomy. For an active individual in the third age, people in the fourth age are the “the others”. The greatest fear and concern for older adults is the loss of independence and personal autonomy according some studies. However from sociological point of view the definition and the lower boundary of fourth age is unclear. Our paper is part of research project “The Fourth age: the Identity of Disability during the period of active ageing”. In this paper we will discussed the relation among agency, age, frailty and well-being. The core of our findings is based on secondary analysis of data from SHARE (Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe). Our results are reinforce by the first findings from qualitative interviews with fourth agers and their careers (formal as same as informal). We will follow the occurrence of incidence of frailty in the context of agency and well-being of ageing individual. The agency is operationalised using PGCMS and by the feeling of control over one´s life. The well-being is measured by life satisfaction and appropriate indicators of mental health. Previous research showed that women in general report worse subjective health then men and geriatric deterioration begins earlier with them and occurs more rapidly. For this reason the gender variance is searched. We focus too on possible variance in and degree of social, economic, and cultural capital; that is, whether the “third” to “fourth” age transition varies depending on these characteristics.