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Conceptualizing Ageing


Thu 27. 8.  16:00 - 17:30
room FA 204

Elderly as a social / sociological construct


Dmitrieva, Alexandra (1,2); Grigoryeva, Irina (1,2)
1: ITMO University, St. Peterburg, Russian Federation; 2: St. Petersburg State University, St. Peterburg, Russian Federation

The phrase "policy of age" actualizes the same association as in former times "gender policy»/«sexual politics». In recent years similar processes happened to understanding of elderly, elderly age or aging itself. Elderly classified as a part of medical issue, but biologists and physicians recognize that in order to explain the aging their professional approach is completely inadequate. Social work is also frustrated by care-service technologies. Social status of the elderly is not clear in today's society. Issue of socio-economic and political domination confused, especially in fragmented and unstable social structure. Symbolic domination of youth in a new media space contrasts to traditional economic and powerful advantage of the elderly. Formal equality of generations prescribed by "society for all (ages)" constantly violated arguments about value of children and risks of aging and excessive money spending, which it requires. Implementation of socio-cultural project "the elderly man" requires new institutional practices, which need a "policy of age." Aging has become one of the most urgent problems of modern society and social policy. There is no social experience associated with life in an aging society, but thinking in terms of risks and threats is very widespread. It is not enough models of rational attitude towards aging society. The current set of stereotypes about older people in Russia does not change over the past 20-25 years. It is necessary to change the perceptions of a society imposed by medicine, and fears of the elderly themselves that the elderly person is required to overtake illnesses and weakness. "Subjective construction of weakness" by elderly people provokes the development of "optics of care" - more acceptable to people not related to the 3rd age, but to 4th age. On the agenda is a realistic assessment of needs in nursing/care and opportunities for both the state and the commercial sector in offering inpatient and home-based care services for the elderly. There are many opportunities for flexible care, such as "day nurseries", cycled rehabilitation, neighborhood assistance (not to mention technical care-devices, greatly facilitates daily life of an elderly person and a person who cares for him/her). This requires a more extensive development of non-stationary care and informing the public about technical possibilities of care.