“Exploration of the individual and societal requirements to shape demographic change”

 demographic chance

Image: Uschi Dreiucker  / pixelio.de

 

Whether, when and how somebody ages, depends—in addition to biomedical aspects—on psychological and social parameters as well as personal and environmental factors. While it is clear, that the highly developed, late industrial societies will age in the coming decades, it is still uncertain which individual and societal implications the inescapable future of aging will have and how long aging people will be able to actively participate in and shape society.

 

Therefore, people have to be actively encouraged to invest into preventive measures and programs themselves. This economically important question critically depends on available health-related models; adequate knowledge about preventive measures for age-associated maladies; the individual assessment of the aging process and the perception of the available freedom of action and room to maneuver.

 demographic chance

Image: berggeist007  / pixelio.de


Health-related behavior and preventive measures for healthy aging always orient themselves on expectations (age-dependent changes, control, self-efficacy) and assessments. In many cases, the anticipation links positive and negative aspects. Typical questions are: How can I influence the development of my disease through my behavior? Are functional impairments and disease an unavoidable by-product of the aging process? Does it pay to invest current resources (time, money, effort) into a healthy life in old age and forgo immediate gratification? Or is life in old age not valuable since, as an old person, one is lonely, marginalized and excluded from social life?

 

Such notions and attitudes toward old age in general, and personal aging in particular, are the determining factor for the willingness to engage in preventive health care (or not to engage, respectively) and to invest personal resources in a healthy life in old age.

 

Within the framework of the research focus “Exploration of the individual and societal requirements to shape demographic change” the influence of the perceived time budget and time sovereignty on preventive health and health-related actions by older or aging people will be explored.