Lola Casal-Sánchez is an Early-Stage Researcher and a PhD. student at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Robert Gordon University (RGU) in the United Kingdom within the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions ITN EuroAgeism. Her work focuses on workforce diversity in residential care homes and its impact on quality care and quality performance. Living and working in Latin America, Europe, and the United States prompted Lola´s study of the impact of lack of cultural competence of health care providers in treating European older people with a foreign ethnic background or from minorities. She received her MSW from the New York University and attained her Bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Social Work at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Lola is the Chair of the European Network on Intercultural Elderly Care (ENIEC) and the founder of AGEvida. Two organizations focus on social-political issues that affect older migrants and people from minorities groups who confront cultural integration process and face discriminatory situations to access to social and health services. Prior to joining the EuroAgeism European program, Lola worked as the International Relationship Manager at the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW)
Using Research on Ageism for Policy Reforms
Ittay Mannheim is a PhD student in the EuroAgeism Innovative Training Network at Fontys School of Allied Health Professions, and Tilburg university, in the Netherlands. Ittay received his MA in Social and Organizational Psychology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and his BA in Psychology and Management from the Ben Gurion University of the Negev. He has previously worked at the Division for Research on Aging at the Myers-JDCBrookdale Institute, where his work focused on loneliness, early detection of dementia, autonomy, legal guardianship, and the use of technology. The primary goal of this research project in the EuroAgeism ITN is to consider the role of ageism as a possible barrier to adoption and use of DT. Consequently, some of the main interests of this research project are how stereotypes and ageism influence the design process of DT, what are the attitudes of caregivers and healthcare professionals who use DT with older adults, and how internalization of social stereotypes of age and technology influence how older adults use DT.
Maria Varlamova is a PhD student of the Jagiellonian University within the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions ITN EuroAgeism. She specialises in population studies, social policy on ageing and ageism. She graduated with honours from the National Research University – Higher School of Economics (Moscow) with a Master’s degree in Sociology (Demography) in 2013 and later was employed as a research fellow at the Center for Comprehensive Social Policy Studies, Institute for Social Policy. In 2015 she completed the programme at the International Institute for the Aging of the United Nations (INIA Malta) on the policy design, planning, implementation and monitoring of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing. Her current research addresses the employers’ perspective towards older workers and age management practices under the effects of the legal environment, economic cycle, and welfare regime characteristics. Her PhD work’s empirical goal is to investigate the changes over ten years in the perceptions, attitudes, and behaviour of the employers towards older adults (50+) in the labour market of Poland, including the post-COVID effects.
Federica Previtali is a doctoral researcher in Social Psychology and Gerontology Research Centre in Tampere University and an Early-Stage Researcher in the Innovative Training Network EuroAgeism. Her research interests include constructions of age, ageism, aging workers, identity, and stereotypes in interactions, as well as diversity and inclusion in human resources practices. She focuses on ethnomethodology and natural occurring data, as video-recordings of organizational practices, to study social interactions at work. Her doctoral dissertation “The grass-root of ageism: ageist dynamics in institutional interaction” analyses how age shapes the interactional dynamic between manager-employee and recruiter-job applicants in situated organizations. The goal is to analyse the intersection of age, gender, roles and ageist dynamics in situ and provide useful feedbacks to partners companies about their practices and how to promote their inclusivity. She has published internationally in journals as Gerontologist and Aging and Social Policy
Wenqian Xu is Doctoral Researcher in Ageing and Social Change at Linköping University. He is affiliated to the National Graduate School on Ageing and Health (SWEAH). He obtained a master’s degree in Journalism and Communication in 2017 at Renmin University of China. His research lies in the intersection of gerontology and media studies. Xu’s PhD dissertation aims to contribute to an improved understanding of ageism in the media, with a focus on online representations of older people generate by non-individual social media adopters.
Lola Casal-Sanchez, Robert Gordon University and the Eniec, United Kingdom
Ittay Mannheim, Tilburg University, the Netherlands
María Varlamora, Jagiellonian University, Poland
Federica Previtalli, Tampere University, Finland
Wenqian Xu, Jagiellonian University, Poland
Ageism is one of the most common and serious obstacles and challenges to intergenerational solidarity, as well as to the health and well-being of older adults and their active involvement in society and the economy. It is deeply rooted in the language, everyday practices and policies and widespread due to its intrinsic nature and current social acceptability. It concerns each of us because, at the individual level, we all hold age-related stereotypes that play a substantial role throughout our lives. Thus, there is a crucial need for a life-course positive approach to ageing and older persons’ empowerment.
The presentations of this symposium will provide an overview of the manifestations of ageism in international policy documents and frameworks in different fields such as technology, the media and the labor market. The presentations will reveal the prevalence of ageism and the under-acknowledgement and lack of understanding of its complexity. During the symposium, presenters will expose concrete, evidence-based policy measures on the international, national, regional, and local levels to combat ageism and foster healthy and active ageing strategies employing an intersectional and diversity sensitive life-course perspective.
All presenters of this symposium are members of the MSCA Innovative Training Network EuroAgeism, funded under Horizon 2020. Researchers in this Network have identified different manifestations of ageism in various domains such as healthcare, the workforce, the media, and digital technology. The main outcome of this research network has been the production of evidence-based policy briefs to combat ageism. The symposium provides an overview of the main implications for policy that are currently overlooked.
Presenter #1, Lola Casal-Sanchez
The relevance of translating research findings into policy recommendations
Current knowledge produced by science often fails to have real-life policy implications. To promote a real age-friendly society, which advocates for equality and helps older adults to realize their full potential, translations of research findings into policy is needed to develop and evaluates interventions to reduce ageism in different settings and spheres of life. This is where evidence-based research is most lacking, and as a result, policies to address ageism are either ineffective or absent.
This presentation will approach key challenges and opportunities for translating research into impactful development programming and policy to close the gaps between knowledge, policy, and practice. A holistic policy approach is needed to support anti-discrimination legislation, broad awareness-raising and educational campaigns to build on a participatory approach and intergenerational social dialogue.
Presenter #2, Ittay Mannheim
Ageism and Digital Technology: Policy Implications
Authors: Ittay Mannheima and Hanna Köttl
Digital technology is rapidly developing and influences many areas of our everyday life. The advantages of digitalization and use of digital technology in the context of aging are prominently discussed on policy agendas due to their potential to reduce costs. However, age stereotypes about later life technology engagement are widespread and chronological age is many times considered a barrier to adoption of technology by researchers, policymakers, and older individuals themselves. Ageism in the context of digital technology has potential consequences on older persons’ equal opportunities for social inclusion and participation.
The goal of this presentation is to share the translation of our recent research on ageism in design and use of digital technologies into policy implications.
Our policy brief identified ageism as a key barrier, affecting design, adoption and use of digital technology in later life on the macro (design & policy)-, meso (social and organizational environment)- and micro (individual)- level. To eliminate stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination based on age, our policy document recommends awareness-raising and training, empowering older persons in accessing and using digital technology and creating a partnership with older persons in the design of digital technology, in research, and policy development processes.
Presenter #3, Maria Varlamora
Ageism in the international frameworks: Holistic approach to ageing and human rights of older persons
Authors: Maria Varlamova and Katri Keskinen
Population aging has sparked a rise in interest for the upcoming demographic changes and their consequences. This has led to numerous sustainable research and policy initiatives to support active and healthy aging in the future. Nevertheless, these efforts often fall short as older people are constantly treated as a homogenous, invisible group, often cast aside in prioritization. Ageism is one of the most common but least acknowledged origins of prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination. Unlike systematic sexism or racism, ageism can affect everyone, and we can constantly be classified as too young or too old. Problematizing systematic ageism in policy development, we emphasize recognizing heterogeneity among all age groups, acknowledging older people’s contributions to social, economic, and political activities, existing mis- and under representations of older people in the media, lacking access to technology, goods, services and financial gains based on age and their deleterious effects on individual agency. Using the European Union’s Green Paper on Aging and the debate around the UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons as examples, we provide an overview of the impact and magnitude of ageism in various policy domains and suggest strategies to foster solidarity and responsibility between current and future generations.
Presenter #4, Federica Previtali
Obstacles and Possibilities for employment in old age: a policy brief on evidence-based challenges and suggestions for policies and practitioners.
Authors: Federica Previtali, Katri Keskinen, Seyoung Kim, Gulin Öylü and Maria Varlamova
Ageism on the labour market is widely spread and leads to financial loss for companies, workers, and national budgets. It decreases workers’ well-being, engagement and interest in prolonging their careers as well as creating barriers in re-entering the labour market putting older workers at higher risks of poverty in older age. Nevertheless, few companies and practitioners perceive ageism as an element to be addressed in working life and through a life-course approach.
The presented policy report provides a holistic view of employment in old age, defining evidence-based perspective from the macro, meso and micro level. It provides international evidence-based recommendations about the extension of working lives and how this agenda can be translated to the national level, using selected countries (Italy, Finland, Poland, Israel and Sweden) as examples. We evaluate the stereotypes and age-management practices at the company level and create a multifaceted and detailed image of what it means to be an older worker today, including recruitment, retainment, life-long learning, work, health and family reconciliation, care obligations, retirement trajectories and social security questions. The presentation draws attention to the challenges of working-life extension and the need to combat explicit and hidden ageism in the labour market with the goal of motivating a multi-stakeholder dialogue.
Presenter #5,Wenqian Xu and Laura D. Allen
Reducing Ageism in the Media: Policy Implications for Residential Care
Authors: Wenqian Xu and Laura D. Allen
Ageism is pervasive and evident in many social institutions, including advertising and the media. The media has been found to generally echo and reinforce ageist depictions of older adults. Media portrayals of older adults are important for social justice and power balance, given that these portrayals can produce and reproduce social constructions of old age. The objective of this presentation is to present the policy implications of our research and other relevant studies on media representations of older adults, which can inform the policy and practice for generating media portrayals of older adults living in residential long-term care homes.
This policy brief problematizes stereotypical portrayals of older adults and long-term care residents and barriers to inclusive portrayals of older adults, as well as pleads for greater accountability in generating thoughtful and reflexive media depictions of older adults and long-term care residents. To reduce the depictions that lead to ageism, this brief recommends that care institutions and media institutions communicate explicit messages about anti-ageism, engage older adults and residents in content production of personalized ageing stories, develop material and symbolic resources with heterogeneous representation, evaluate the production process of media