Abstract: As societies around the world continue to adapt to the realities of an ageing population, there is greater need to understand how different groups experience ageing differently and how such differences can impede progress toward the promotion of successful and productive ageing. This session examines how gender, health, and ageing intersect within various international contexts and policy environments. It also incorporates perspectives related to the four conference themes, covering development, physical and mental health, inequalities related to gender and sexuality, and ageism. The session will start with Erica Dhar, Director of Global Alliances at AARP and co-chair of the UN Stakeholder Group on Ageing, who will share findings of the 2018 UN Women Flagship report on gender equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with a focus on older women. Briony Dow, from the National Ageing Research Institute at the University of Melbourne, Australia, will then discuss insights from research looking at older men and factors related to suicide. Arne Stinchcombe, from Saint Paul University and the University of Ottawa, will present data on physical and mental health inequalities among older LGBT Canadians. The final presentation, by Brian Beach from ILC-UK, will highlight research around breast cancer care in Europe and the potential for ageism in different parts of the care pathway.
Analysis of UN Women Report “Turning Promises into Action: Gender Equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”: The presence or absence of Older Women This presentation will share findings of the 2018 UN Women Flagship report on gender equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The emphasis will be on issues pertaining to Older Women globally, such as poverty, disability and violence. The presentation will showcase findings in the gaps in data, legislation and accountability as well as speak to the interlinkages between gender equality and sustainable development. Although there is Goal 5 in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), gender equality is pertinent and relevant and should be embedded in the other goals of poverty, hunger, health, education, water and sanitation, employment, climate change, environmental degradation, urbanization, conflict and peace and financing for development. The presentation will also share the findings of the report on the status of older women in the United States.
Older men’s views about suicide risk Men aged over 85 have the highest rate of deaths by suicide of any age or gender group in Australia. This project sought to understand the role of masculinity and other health and lifestyle factors in the suicidality of men as they approach the at risk age of 85 years or more in order to inform suicide prevention efforts men in this age group. The dominant masculinity in Australia is one that endorses the norms of stoicism, independence, invulnerability and avoidance of negative emotions. Four focus groups were conducted with 26 men aged 80 and older, recruited from past research projects, men’s sheds and local government contacts. These were transcribed and thematically analysed. The main themes to emerge from these discussions as risk factors for suicide were loneliness, health, and financial worries. While none of the men interviewed had current or persistent thoughts of suicide themselves, they could imagine a time when this could occur, usually due to anticipated ill health and incapacity. Some described past thoughts of suicide, for example “Closest I came was when my wife died, I was retiring, it was a difficult time, a friend from work died but when you have children to think about – they would be so struck, that would prevent me”. They also talked about men’s incapacity to talk things through, compared to women, that men tend to “bottle things up” and this might reduce their ability to work through problems that might put them at risk. These findings will be presented and discussed in the light of historical cohort factors as well as notions masculinity held by participants.
Gender and sexual identities as determinants of health among older Canadians Sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity have been identified as social determinants of health. Social and structural disadvantages accumulated over time may increase the potential for more pronounced disadvantage among older adults. Thus, the long-term effects of such disadvantages accumulated throughout the lifespan have been shown to negatively impact health status in older adulthood. This presentation will showcase data demonstrating different patterns of physical and mental health inequalities among older male and female sexual minorities (i.e., lesbian, gay, and bisexual) Canadians. In addition, focus group data will be presented, highlighting the lived experience of transgender older adults in Canada. The implications of these research findings for supporting a diverse aging population that addresses social determinants of health will be discussed.
Ageism in the Breast Cancer Care Pathway: Investigation in Five European Countries Breast cancer claims the lives of more European women than any other cancer. Around 1 in 8 women in the EU-28 will develop breast cancer before the age of 85, with nearly 20% of cases in those younger than 50. However, when it comes to cancer survival, there is significant variation across Europe as well as age groups. Questions also linger on whether current practice in breast cancer care that is applied differently according to age is fully based on clinically accepted guidelines or influenced by implicit or explicit ageism. This research explored whether aspects of the breast cancer care pathway might relate to disparity in outcomes, and whether any differences might suggest evidence for ageism within screening, diagnosis, or treatment. Descriptive statistics related to incidence, mortality, and survival patterns were examined at the national level across the EU. This data informed the selection of five countries for more in-depth exploration of care pathways and national cancer plans. The investigation looked for age-based variation in practice and policy, considering the extent to which such variation was clinically informed. It further explored the available evidence for ageism within the provision of care. The research concludes by highlighting areas where ageism – whether manifesting as stereotypes, prejudice, or discrimination – may potentially explain differences in breast cancer care and its associated outcomes.