From the President

Dear RC 11 members,

Hope 2019 started on a good note and that the holidays (if you had any at the end of 2018) offered some relaxation together with family and friends! This is the first newsletter in which I address you all after having been elected as President of our RC [i.e. the International Sociological Association’s Research Committee on Aging; which most of us refer to as RC-11]. It is a great honor to be able to serve our research committee along with my colleagues in the new board for our RC!

Close to six months has passed since the new board was elected at the business meeting held at the World Congress of Sociology in Toronto back in late July 2018. Since then, we have been busy at work.

Below you will find more information on what we have been up to but first let me say a few words about where we are starting from; research committees do not invent the wheel every time new members join their boards so a few words about what we offered last year seems appropriate.

The congress in Toronto was a great success so my first thanks goes to our RC’s Immediate Past President, Prof. Virpi Timonen (University of Dublin, Ireland), who served our committee for the four years, ended with the Toronto event. Virpi rolled out a new initiative for emerging scholars that we are particularly excited about (more about it later). The program coordinator for the sessions that RC-11 held while in Toronto, Dr. Julie McMullin (Western University, Canada), who is also one of our Immediate Past Vice Presidents, put together a very well organized group of inspiring sessions at the Congress. It is events like that which keep our engagement with RC-11 alive so thank you Julie for the hard work that went into coordinating it all, and thanks also to all RC-members who organized symposiums and chaired sessions for us!

One of the exciting new initiatives that our past board rolled out was the ‘Emerging Scholar Awards’. At our business meeting in Toronto we got to hear the recipients of these awards present their work. In this newsletter, there are short bio-sketches for the recipients of these awards. I encourage you to become acquainted with them, and to read their work. Once you do, I am sure you will agree that the future of aging scholarship is in good hands! Congratulations to all of them again! The adjudicators of these awards (Prof. Karen Lowton, University of Sussex, UK & Prof. Merril Silverstein, Syracuse University, US) deserve a thanks as well. They read all of the papers that were submitted with the applications, and by electing them set the bar high for this initiative! The future of aging and old age research lies in junior scholars who conduct research that not only addresses crucial knowledge gaps, but also expands our sociological imagination about aging and old age! Our board is very much committed to finding ways to support them!

If you missed the congress in Toronto and have not checked our website for a while, it is probably interesting to know that the new board for our RC is constituted of two newly elected vice presidents who have been serving our research committee in different capacities for a while (Dr. Lucie Vidovićová, Masaryk University, Czech Republic & Prof. Jacob John Kattakayam, University of Kerala, India); our newly elected secretary (Dr. Myra Hamilton, University of New South Wales, Australia); our newly elected treasurer who has also served our RC in other capacities in the past (Dr. Esteban Calvo, Universidad Mayor, Chile) and our newly elected communications officer (Dr. Anna Wanka, University of Frankfurt, Germany). As President of our RC, I coordinate the work that Lucie, Jacob, Myra, Esteban and Anna do in service to you all, RC-11 members. In other words, we are the people that work behind the scenes (in-between forums and conferences) in order to organize the activities that allow you to connect with the global community of sociologists of aging and/or scholars from other disciplines that either conduct or are interested in research on aging and old age, and are members of our RC. Our research committee has namely many members that are not sociologists by training, so under the auspices of the International Sociological Association, we coordinate activities for a global network of scholars interested in aging and old age. Personally, I think it is this scholarly diversity that makes RC-11 such a vibrant and stimulating network.

Some of you may wonder what we – the new board of RC-11 – have been doing since we received your vote of confidence and took on our new roles. Well, we have used a considerable amount of time figuring out all of the ‘behind the scenes systems and infrastructure’ that our mother organization (ISA) utilizes for RC activities (a lot more than we had expected!), and calibrating our working methods (in order to efficiently communicate between different continents and time zones ☺). We have also commenced planning some of the activities that our RC will engage in over the four year period for which we have been elected (2018-2022), and have also prepared a grant application for the ISA in order to finance the costs incurred for these activities. In addition, everybody – depending on their role – has had specific tasks to complete.

Our communications officer, Anna, has been busy collecting the information for this newsletter, interviewing new members, bringing it all together into a coherent whole, and working on the Committee’s social media presence (thanks Anna for keeping us informed!). Our new secretary, Myra, has been wrapping her head around the bi-annual report, membership and grant systems that ISA uses. She has also been assembling all of the information necessary to complete the report and the grant that we have been working on (wish us luck!), and has been welcoming our new members (thanks Myra for all of your hard work so far!). One of our Vice Presidents, Jacob, has been busy at work planning an international event in India in collaboration with our RC (thanks Jacob for working hard to find funding for this, and for organizing it as well!). Our treasurer, Esteban, and I have been gearing up for the various tasks associated with the coordination of our RCs program at the ISA Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil (July 14-18, 2020). He has also been handling the various tasks that treasurers do (thanks Esteban for all of your work so far!). Finally, our other vice president, Lucie, who happens to be not only one of our most experienced RC-11 board members but also our board’s memory bank, has been helping the three of us that are RC-11 board rookies (Myra, Anna and I) to learn the ropes (thanks Lucie!).

Besides all of the things that I have already mentioned in the hopes of giving everybody (new and old members alike) a fair chance to grasp what RC-11s board does, I would like to end by sharing some good news regarding membership. While in Toronto we were alerted to the fact that we needed to work towards increasing our membership since member counts are very important in ISAs ‘business model’. The number of sessions RCs will be allocated at the upcoming Forum and World Congress (July 24-31, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia) depends on their member count, as does the size of the grants an RC can apply for from ISA. Thus, back in mid-late August (which is when we officially started working as a board), we started to spread the word about our RC in order to get new members to register. Our stimulating research committee has been instrumental to our growth as researchers so we are passionate about RC-11. Trying to enlist new members to a network we are committed to is not difficult even if it can be time consuming. Thus, besides mobilizing our own networks, we enlisted the help of the group known as RC-11s Officers at Large, and thanks to everybody’s efforts we managed not only to reach the magic 150 number but surpass it.

In October 2018, our RC joined the rank of RCs that belong to the 175-199 member bracket. As a result, the ISA Forum in Brazil in 2020 and the World Congress in Australia in 2022 will both include a healthy number of sessions on aging and old age. I therefore want to finish this column by thanking our board members and Officers at Large, who tweeted, e-mailed and shared their enthusiasm about our RC with their own networks. Some of you may not know who our Officers at Large for this period are, so here are their names: Prof Debora Price (University of Manchester, UK); Prof Candace L. Kemp (Georgia State University, USA); Prof Arvind Kumar Joshi (BHU, Varanasi, India); Prof Ilkka Pietila (University of Helsinki, Finland); Dr Luke Gahan (La Trobe University, Australia); Prof Ito Peng (University of Toronto, Canada); Dr Martin Hyde (Swansea University, Wales); Dr Francesco Barbabella (Linnaeus University, Sweden); Dr Wendy Martin(Brunel University, UK); Dr Ignacio Madero-Cabib (University of Chile).

This is all I have for now. I wish you all a stimulating 2019 filled with new epiphanies in your research, and a renewed commitment to scholarship on aging and old age!

Prof. Sandra Torres (Uppsala University, Sweden)
President of RC-11
Photo of Sandra Torres

From the Secretary

Photo of Myra Hamilton
Dear RC-11 members,

As Sandra mentioned, I am the newly elected Secretary of RC-11 and would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to existing members and to welcome new members to the Committee. I will be overseeing all membership activities in RC-11 and will be the person you hear from on any membership matters, including if you become a member for the first time or renew your membership. I look forward to getting to know some of you and to welcoming many of you to the World Congress in Australia in 2022!

Myra Hamilton (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
Secretary of RC-11


Upcoming ISA Forum 2020: Details and call for session proposals

The IV ISA Forum of Sociology will be held in Porto Alegre, Brazil, July 14-18, 2020. The ISA Forum of Sociology is designed as a mid-term meeting of Research Committees, Working Groups and Thematic Groups combined with the Business Meeting of the ISA Research Council.

The forthcoming Fourth ISA Forum of Sociology will be organized by Geoffrey Pleyers, current ISA Vice-President Research, in collaboration with the ISA Research Coordinating Committee and the Brazilian Local Organizing Committee, chaired by Hermilio Santos, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul. Further information can be found here:

During the Fourth ISA Forum of Sociology in Porto Alegre, Brazil, July 14-18, 2020, RC11 will be organizing a full program of sessions. We invite you to propose RC11 sessions for the ISA Forum. A description of session proposals must be submitted on-line via Confex platform between February 4 and March 15, 2019: Mark your calendars!

We encourage you to propose “regular sessions”, typically comprising 5 oral presentations plus some distributed papers and collective discussion, all within 90 minutes length. Please note that you do not need to send names of papers or presenters for regular sessions, but only the title of the proposed session plus a short description. Abstract submissions to the selected list of sessions will be open at a later stage, between April 25 and September 30, 2019.

RC11 will feature a total of 16 sessions and potentially an additional number of sessions organized jointly with other research committees. If you want to propose sessions in other languages than English or of other types than regular sessions (e.g., author meets critics, symposium, roundtable), we strongly encourage you to contact our program coordinators in advance. Prof. Sandra Torres ( and Dr. Esteban Calvo ( will serve as RC11 program coordinators and assemble the final list of sessions. They are planning a high quality and intellectually stimulating program, addressing a wide range of issues within the Sociology of Aging that are relevant to researchers across the world. If you have any questions, please contact our program coordinators.


ISA’s RC 11 Emerging Scholar Paper Award for Aging Research

In 2018, the Executive Committee of RC-11 rolled out a new initiative called the Emerging Scholar Award. The four winners of the Emerging Scholar Paper Award were announced at the World Congress of Sociology in Toronto.

Each of them made a brief presentation of their research at the RC-11 business meeting. Since we know that not all of our members were there, this section is dedicated to showcasing the winners.

The Emerging Scholar Paper Award Winners 2018 are: Ella Schwartz (Israel); Eric Vogelsang (US); Joseph Wolfe (US) and Patricia Homan (US). Below you will find short bio-sketches with these junior scholars (except for Patricia who we were not able to reach in time).
Photo of Ella Schwartz
Ella Schwartz for the paper entitled “The reciprocal relationship between social connectedness and mental health among older European adults: A SHARE-based analysis”.

: Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Research interests: Social gerontology and the role of the social environment in the aging process. My research focuses on different aspects of the social milieu, particularly in relation to physical health, mental health and cognitive functioning. I strive to understand how the social environment affects the health and well-being of older persons, what are the driving mechanisms and how do they differ among various population groups.

If you could have dinner with a sociologist (dead or alive), who would it be? Mark Granovetter. His theory of weak ties has influenced my interest in social gerontology and I also find it relevant for my own life.

“Attending the RC11 sessions at the ISA conference 2018 has broadened my academic horizons through learning about the various aspects of aging research in Sociology. I'm confident it will expose me to more interesting research endeavors and initiatives in the future. Getting acquainted with the other RC11 members had also been helpful and will benefit my research and career, as I aim to collaborate with other researchers. I will be glad to attend RC11 meetings, at ISA conferences or in other settings alike. Additionally, I would be happy to get involved in other aspects of RC11.”

Read Ella’s paper here:

Ella Schwartz, Howard Litwin 2017; The Reciprocal Relationship Between Social Connectedness and Mental Health Among Older European Adults: A SHARE-Based Analysis, The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, gbx131


Photo of Eric Vogelsang
Eric Vogelsang for the paper entitled “Feeling better at this age? Investigating three explanations for self-rated health improvements among the oldest-old”.

Affiliation: California State University-San Bernardino, Center on Aging

Research interests: Health Evaluation, Health Behavior, Social Participation, Population Aging, Health & Place

If you could have dinner with a sociologist (dead or alive), who would it be? Alberto Palloni (Formal Demographer and Gerontologist, Center for Demography and Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison). Sure, he was part of my dissertation committee and, as such, we met occasionally--but never for a meal. Dr. Palloni has always been very busy, very popular, and very fun to talk to. Unfortunately, he is now (for me) out-of-state, and retired. So, I would welcome the opportunity to treat him to a nice dinner when I see him again. That said, someone told me once that "more senior" faculty should always pay for "more junior" faculty - throughout the entire academic life course!

“Obviously, RC11 allows me to connect with some of the leading gerontologists from around the world, as well as current graduate students who will go onto become some of the leading gerontologists from around the world. From a personal standpoint, I feel that U.S. Gerontology (and U.S. academia, in general) is very parochial. Because of this, I enjoy hearing about gerontology research and themes from a global perspective. I am also very interested in doing collaborative work--particularly with scholars from some of the "oldest countries" in Europe and East Asia. Since I used to be an accountant in my past life, I would be willing to serve as RC11 Treasurer at some point.”

Read Eric’s paper here:

Vogelsang, Eric M. 2018: Feeling Better at This Age? Investigating Three Explanations for Self-Rated Health Improvements Among the Oldest-Old, The Gerontologist 58(5):825-834.


Photo of Joseph Wolfe
Joseph Wolfe for the paper entitled “Multigenerational attainments and mortality among older men: An adjacent generations approach”

Affiliation: University of Alabama at Birmingham

Research interests: Broadly speaking, my research interests are in social stratification, the life course, and population health. I currently have three lines of work in progress that examine (1) multigenerational processes of health and mortality, (2) the relationship between families' socioeconomic attainments and health across historical contexts, and (3) the intergenerational experiences that influence substance use and its association with mental health.

If you could have dinner with a sociologist (dead or alive), who would it be? I think Max Weber. I’m curious how he would update his views on class and status based on the social changes since his death in 1920.

“As an early-career sociologist, the RC11 offers a rare opportunity for exchanging ideas and research findings with scholars of aging from around the world. Receiving the emerging scholar award was also a great honor and an amazing boost of confidence during the tenure process.”

Read Joseph’s paper here:

Wolfe, Joseph, Bauldry, Shawn, Hardy, Melissa, Pavalko, Eliza K., 2018: Multigenerational socioeconomic attainments and mortality among older men: An adjacent generations approach.” Demographic Research 3: 719–752.


Call for Papers / Abstracts

Sociální studia / Social Studies - Call for thematic issues

The journal Sociální studia / Social Studies is announcing a Call for two guest-edited thematic issues. The issues will be published in 2020 and each issue will focus on a specific topic. The issues will be edited by a team of guest editors and the present editors of Sociální studia / Social Studies.
If you are interested in guest-editing a thematic issue, please send us the following:
  • proposed thematic focus of the issue (including its relevance)
  • a preliminary list of contributors
  • plan for recruitment of authors
  • a short CV of each editor, including previous experience with (co)editorship
Proposals should be sent to the journal’s email address
The deadline is 31 January 2019. More detailed information is available on request.


Thinking Ageing and Older Age

MICRA PhD and Early Career Conference, hosted by the University of Manchester, Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing (June 13, 2019).

Submission date: April 01, 2019

With an ageing global population, research about ageing and older people is increasingly important. This one day conference aims to showcase the range of research among postgraduate and early career researchers from across disciplines taking ageing as its focus. The conference welcomes researchers interested in and working on ageing and older age from all disciplines and schools.

Abstracts (of no more than 250 words) for paper sessions on four broad themes can be submitted:

• Ageing populations
• Understanding ageing
• Ageing and place
• Ageing, health and wellbeing

These themes are not mutually exclusive and are designed to appeal to the broad range of research undertaken on ageing and older age. Aimed at postgraduate and early career researchers, this conference provides a great opportunity to meet peers with overlapping research interests and to share your knowledge and experience. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.


2019 SLLS International Conference - ‘Life Courses in Comparable Perspective: Similarities and Differences of Predictors and Outcomes Between Countries, Times and Populations’

Hosted by the University of Potsdam, Germany (25-27 September, 2019; pre-conference workshop(s) on 24 September 2019).

Submission Deadline: Friday 1st February 2019 (21:00 GMT)

The overall topic of the conference will focus on the comparative study of life courses in different nations, different historical times or across subgroups in a population. The aim is to generate and exchange information on comparable data resources with information of early predictors on later outcomes across different domains and across different life stages. We welcome conference submissions from all areas of longitudinal and life course studies: sociological, psychological, epidemiological, economic, social developmental and ageing processes and functioning within and across life course stages; methods and findings of cohort or panel studies and record linkage, household, and income dynamics; intergenerational transfers and returns to learning; gene environment interactions; ‘mixed’, and comparative methods; innovative methodology in design, measurement, data management, analysis and research practice (quantitative and qualitative).


International Seminar on Active and Healthy Ageing

Hosted by the Centre for Gerontological Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, Department of Sociology, University of Kerala.

The University of Kerala is planning an International Consultative Seminar on Active and Healthy Aging in collaboration with the International Sociological Association’s Research Committee on Aging (RC-11). The Department of Sociology of the University of Kerala, the pioneering university in the State, is celebrating its Golden Jubilee in 2019 and it is in the context of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations that the International Consultative Seminar is being planned. The Centre for Gerontological Studies has got special consultative status by the UN Eco-Soc Council and is the first center in India on aging established in 1983. The Seminar will be held in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, India from 1st to 3rd August 2019. The State of Kerala at the southernmost tip of the Indian continent, is known as ‘God’s Own Country’ in the world tourist map, given its lush green panoramic beauty and irresistibility as a tourist attraction.

The primary goal of the International Seminar envisages four specific objectives. First it hopes to bring together scholars, administrators and practitioners from all over the world to discuss the issue of elder health and wellbeing with a view to examining state of the art care and security arrangements for older people in different countries. Second, it seeks to examine the factors that facilitate or hinder the achievement of the mission of healthy aging and wellbeing. The WHO definitions of healthy and active aging will be used to identify the issues for discussion and to arrive at solutions. Age-friendly environments and human rights of older people have been added to this academic exploration because of their pivotal role in contributing to the health and wellbeing of older persons. Third, it proposes to take cognizance of the ongoing efforts in different parts of the world to overcome the obstacles and constraints in achieving health for all with special reference to the old and to document the best practices among nations in promoting health and wellbeing. Finally, it intends to frame a programme for action for promoting the status of older people’s health and wellbeing across nations. The seminar will include inauguration, keynote and valedictory addresses and two plenary sessions and a symposium on the main subthemes with 5-8 outstanding persons/members from among the delegates, along with a number of parallel sessions spread across three days on various subthemes.

The registration fee for the Seminar is USD 500/- which includes four nights’ food and accommodation in a five star hotel and seminar kit. The formal announcement of the seminar will be made only if 20-25 international members from RC-11 confirm their participation. Those interested members should contact Prof. Jacob John Kattakayam, Vice-President, RC-11, ISA, and Director, Center for Gerontological Studies at the University of Kerala, via email:, by 15th February at the latest.

Call for Positions

Open-rank full-time faculty position available. Society and Health Research Center at Universidad Mayor (first call January 2019)

The Society and Health Research Center at Universidad Mayor ( is seeking candidates for an open-rank full-time faculty position starting on 2019. Screening of applications will begin immediately and will remain open until the position is filled.

The overarching mission of the Society and Health Research Center is to advance well-being at the individual, social, and institutional levels in a context of global demographic, epidemiological, technological, and environmental change. To pursue this mission, the goals of the center are to conduct world-class interdisciplinary research with real-world implications, train new researchers, and disseminate evidence to broad audiences.

Our research strengths are grouped into three clusters: (1) social and life-course determinants of health and aging, (2) social relationships and cohesion, (3) and institutions and regulation from a cross-national and comparative perspective. To study these issues, we use mixed methods and embrace the new opportunities arising with an era of big “cells to society” data.

We seek candidates with a strong publication record that is appropriate to their rank, proven capacities to establish successful research collaborations, the ability to offer graduate courses and direct doctoral dissertations, and fluent in English. Above the rank of Assistant Professor, a record of funded research is also desirable. Applicants must have a Ph.D. by the time of appointment.

We encourage applications from individuals of diverse backgrounds, including population, behavioral, and statistical sciences (public health, gerontology, sociology, demography, economics, public policy, geography, psychology, data science, biostatistics, statistical engineering, information statistics, applied statistics, among others). Priority will be given to candidates with the ability to conduct research using advanced statistics and to work collaboratively with our interdisciplinary team (see areas of expertise at

The average teaching load ranges from 4 to 8 hours per week, depending on rank. The official instruction language is Spanish, although specific class modules and graduate classes can be taught in English. Candidates with basic knowledge of Spanish are welcomed, but need to achieve proficiency after an initial period of induction. Salaries are competitive and standardized depending on rank.

Applicants should submit by email: (1) a curriculum vitae, (2) letter of application, and (3) one or two samples of written work. Please also arrange for three references to email letters separately. Questions and all application materials should be emailed both at and

Inside RC-11: Member Profiles

Photo of Laura Funk

Laura Funk, Associate Professor at the University of Manitoba, Canada

“I am seeking greater connection with international colleagues interested in the Sociology of Aging. I want to learn more about their work and learn how to strengthen the Sociology of Aging, and critical gerontology, in Canada.”

Laura became a member of RC11 in 2018. Her research primarily addresses issues related to responsibility and care/support for older adults and for dying persons. She uses qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods and interpretive and critical perspectives to address these issues in various sites (i.e., long-term care, health promotion, home care and family care work). She has explored the often-invisible contributions of family carers, including system navigation, as well as how changes in Canadian health and long-term care sectors have led to increasing reliance on volunteers and paid companions and complicated the emotional labour of nurses and health care aides. More recently she has been analyzing divergent interpretations of the meaning of aggression and violence in older adults in different settings and relations of care (and in news media). Moreover, she is leading a team using mixed methods to examine the intersection between policy discourse and public understandings of the meaning of dying at home and responsibility for end of life care.

Photo of Jayashree Shivananda

Jayashree Shivananda, Professor at Karnatak University, India

Jayashree Shivananda joined RC11 in 2018 as well, mainly because of her research interests and to participate in conferences. Her research is primarily concerned with ageing in developing countries. She did her PhD on ageing and retirement, and is currently focusing on widowers, childless elderly and centenarians.

Congratulations to…

Elisabeth Burgess and Jennifer Craft Morgan from Georgia State University! They received a joint grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to support the three-year training and development project, "Building Resources for Delivering Person-Centered Care in Georgia Nursing Homes."

Candace Kemp and her Georgia State University and Emory University Colleagues! They received funding from the National Institute on Aging for the five-year study, "Meaningful Engagement and Quality of Life among Assisted Living Residents with Dementia" (R01AG062310).


If you want your work to be featured in the next RC11 newsletter? Write to:

Publications of RC11 Members


Timonen, Virpi (ed) (2018). Grandparenting Practices around the World. Bristol University Press.



Grandparenting Practices around the World presents an in-depth and up-to-date analysis of the increasing numbers of grandparents worldwide who co-exist and interact for longer periods of time with their grandchildren. The book contains analyses of topics that have so far received relatively little attention, such as transnational grandparenting and gender differences in grandparenting practices. It is the first collection to bring together a wide variety of theory-driven research on grandparenting, including chapters on Europe, North America, Africa, Asia and Australia. Building on the success of Contemporary Grandparenting, edited by Virpi Timonen and Sara Arber, this book further deepens our understanding of how social structures continue to shape grandparenting across a wide range of cultural and economic contexts.

Westood, S (eds). (2018). Ageing, Diversity and Equality: Social Justice Perspectives. Routledge.



Current understandings of ageing and diversity are impoverished in three main ways. Firstly, with regards to thinking about what inequalities operate in later life there has been an excessive preoccupation with economic resources. On the other hand, less attention has been paid to cultural norms and values, other resources, wider social processes, political participation and community engagement. Secondly, in terms of thinking about the ‘who’ of inequality, this has so far been limited to a very narrow range of minority populations. Finally, when considering the ‘how’ of inequality, social gerontology’s theoretical analyses remain under-developed. The overall effect of these issues is that social gerontology remains deeply embedded in normative assumptions which serve to exclude a wide range of older people.

Ageing, Diversity and Equality aims to challenge and provoke the above described normativity and offer an alternative approach which highlights the heterogeneity and diversity of ageing, associated inequalities and their intersections.

Torres, Sandra (2019). Ethnicity & Old Age: Expanding our Imagination. Bristol: Policy Press.



Part of the Ageing in a Global Context series, this book proposes a new research agenda for scholarship that focuses on ethnicity, race and old age. It argues that in a time of increased international migration, population ageing and ethno-cultural diversity, scholarly imagination must be expanded as current research frameworks are becoming obsolete. By bringing attention to the way that ethnicity and race have been addressed in research on ageing and old age, with a focus on health inequalities, health and social care, intergenerational relationships and caregiving, the book proposes how research can be developed in an ethnicity astute and diversity-informed manner.


Azar, Ariel, Andrea Slachevsky, Ursula M. Staudinger, Ignacio Madero-Cabib, and Esteban Calvo. 2019. From Snapshots to Movies: The Association between Retirement Sequences and Aging Trajectories in Limitations to Perform Activities of Daily Living.” Journal of Aging and Health 31(2):293-321. doi: 10.1177/0898264318782096



Objective: This study analyzes the dynamic association between retirement sequences and activities of daily living (ADLs) trajectories between ages 60 and 70. Method: Retirement sequences previously established for 7,880 older Americans from the Health and Retirement Study were used in hierarchical linear and propensity score full matching models, analyzing their association with ADL trajectories. Results: Sequences of partial retirement from full- or part-time jobs showed higher baseline and slower decline in ADL than sequences characterized by early labor force disengagement. Discussion: The conventional model in which people completely retire from a full-time job at normative ages and the widely promoted new conventional model of late retirement are both associated with better functioning than early labor force disengagement. But unconventional models, where older adults keep partially engaged with the labor force are also significantly associated with better functioning. These findings call attention to more research on potential avenues to simultaneously promote productive engagement and health later in life.

Brijnath, B., Gahan, L., Gaffy, E., & Dow, B. (2018). Build Rapport, Otherwise No Screening Tools in the World Are Going to Help”: Frontline Service Providers’ Views on Current Screening Tools for Elder Abuse. The Gerontologist, Advanced Access publication December 20, 2018. doi:10.1093/geront/gny166



Without an effective screening tool, accompanied by clear guidelines of what to do when elder abuse is suspected, health workers may face challenges when asking questions about elder abuse. This study aimed to find the most effective and acceptable existing elder abuse screening tool and to create guidelines for using the tool. A rapid review of the literature identified existing validated elder abuse screening tools. Then, 5 tools (Vulnerability to Abuse Screening Scale [VASS], Elder Abuse Suspicion Index [EASI], Elder Assessment Instrument [EAI], Caregiver Abuse Screen [CASE], and Brief Abuse Screen for the Elderly [BASE]), selected based on their internal rigor, were presented to health professionals to assess the tools’ relevance to their practice. Three focus groups were held with 23 health professionals in Victoria, Australia, in 2017. Data were thematically analyzed. None of the tools were deemed suitable by participants for use in their practice. Criticisms of the tools included: using outdated terminology, asking binary questions, asking multiple questions at once, failure to consider the older person’s cognitive status, failure to consider how culture mediates elder abuse, and failure to outline a referral pathway to those administering the tool. Participants emphasized that the screening tool must promote trust and rapport between the assessor and the older person to solicit a story on this sensitive subject. A successful elder abuse screening tool must be concise, easy to use, account for the older person’s health and social vulnerabilities, and outline a referral pathway if elder abuse is suspected.

Calvo, Esteban, Ignacio Madero-Cabib, and Ursula M. Staudinger. 2018. Retirement Sequences of Older Americans: Moderately De-standardized and Highly Stratified across Gender, Class, and Race.” The Gerontologist 58(6):1166-76. Doi: 10.1093/geront/gnx052



Purpose of the Study: A destandardization of labor-force patterns revolving around retirement has been observed in recent literature. It is unclear, however, to which degree and of which kind. This study looked at sequences rather than individual statuses or transitions and argued that differentiating older Americans’ retirement sequences by type, order, and timing and considering gender, class, and race differences yields a less destandardized picture. Design and Methods: Sequence analysis was employed to analyze panel data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) for 7,881 individuals observed 6 consecutive times between ages 60–61 and 70–71.Results: As expected, types of retirement sequences were identified that cannot be subsumed under the conventional model of complete retirement from full-time employment around age 65. However, these retirement sequences were not entirely destandardized, as some irreversibility and age-grading persisted. Further, the degree of destandardization varied along gender, class, and race. Unconventional sequences were archetypal for middle-level educated individuals and Blacks. Also, sequences for women and individuals with lower education showed more unemployment and part-time jobs, and less age-grading. Implications: A sequence-analytic approach that models group differences uncovers misjudgments about the degree of destandardization of retirement sequences. When a continuous process is represented as individual transitions, the overall pattern of retirement sequences gets lost and appears destandardized. These patterns get further complicated by differences in social structures by gender, class, and race in ways that seem to reproduce advantages that men, more highly educated individuals, and Whites enjoy in numerous areas over the life course.

Calvo, Esteban, Maureen Berho, Mónica Roqué, Juan Sebastián Amaro, Fernando Morales, Emiliana Rivera, Luis Miguel F. Gutiérrez Robledo, Elizabeth Caro López, Bernardita Canals, and Rosa Kornfeld. 2018. Comparative Analysis of Aging Policy Reform in Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, and Mexico.”Journal of Aging and Social Policy. Doi: 10.1080/08959420.2018.1465797



This investigation uses case studies and comparative analysis to review and analyze aging policy in Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, and Mexico and uncovers similarities and relevant trends in the substance of historical and current aging policy across countries. Initial charity-based approaches to poverty and illness have been gradually replaced by a rights-based approach considering broader notions of well-being, and recent reforms emphasize the need for national, intersectoral, evidence-based policy. The results of this study have implications for understanding aging policy in Latin America from a welfare regime and policy makers’ perspective, identifying priorities for intervention and informing policy reforms in developing countries worldwide.

Hamilton, M and Thompson, C (2017) Recognising unpaid care in private pension schemes”, Social Policy and Society, 16(4), pp 517-534.



Parents and carers often have interrupted workforce histories, causing gaps in their pension contributions and hence significantly lower retirement incomes. In some countries, to ameliorate these inequalities, carer credits have been introduced to maintain public pension contributions during periods of workforce absence. But improvements to credits in public schemes have taken place alongside a shift to private pensions that widens inequalities for carers. Introducing carer credits to private pensions is one method of addressing these inequalities. A search for examples of credits to private schemes in OECD countries revealed that, at present, they are rare and limited. This article sets out the design features and principles that should underpin carer credits to private pensions.

Kania-Lundholm, M. & Torres, S. (2018). Ideology, power and inclusion: using the critical perspective to study how older ICT users make sense of digitization.” Media, Culture and Society; DOI: 10.1177/0163443718781983.



Critical Internet and media scholarship has primarily focused on contributing to theoretical debates within the field of media and communications but few empirical studies have applied this theoretical approach. This article uses data on older active ICT users’ understandings of digitisation. It draws inspiration from Boltanski’s pragmatist sociology of critique and the notion that people’s own take on their situation are fruitful sources of information in the quest for emancipation. It employs the notions of ideology, power and inclusion – which are central to critical scholarship – to make sense of older active ICT users’ understandings of digitisation. In doing so, it explores the fruitfulness of the critical lens for studies of ICT users while bringing attention to older active ICT users’ critical capacities.

Olaison, A; Torres, S. & Forssell, E. (2018). Professional discretion and length of work experience: what findings from focus groups with care managers in elder care suggest.” Journal of Social Work Practice, 32(2): 153-167, DOI: 10.1080/02650533.2018.1438995



Research has explored how care managers in elder care – who often function as ‘street-level bureaucrats’ – regard professional discretion. The way in which length of work experience affects care managers’ use of professional discretion remains, however, unexplored. This article present findings from 12 focus groups with 60 care managers. By bringing attention to how care managers experience the needs assessment process, this article sheds light on how these ‘street-level bureaucrats’ struggle when they try to balance their clients’ needs against institutional frameworks and local guidelines. Length of work experience seems to play a role in how care managers claim to use professional discretion. Experienced care managers describe how they deviate from the guidelines at times in order to create an increased scope of action in their decision-making process. Those with less time in the profession describe greater difficulties in this respect. Findings suggest that research should explore if length of work experience plays a role in the actual way in which care managers assess needs and make decisions. As such, they contribute to our understanding of how needs assessment processes are navigated by professionals while also pointing towards the nature of professional discretion in gerontological social work.

Willis, Margaret, Shaina Reid, Esteban Calvo, Ursula M. Staudinger, and Pam Factor-Litvak. 2018. A Scoping Systematic Review of Social Stressors and Various Measures of Telomere Length Across the Life Course.” Ageing Research Reviews 47:89-104. Doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2018.07.006



Numerous studies examine the relationship between social stressors and telomere length (TL). Beyond considering methods and major findings, this scoping systematic review takes a novel approach as it groups studies according to the types of social stressor considered and by age groups. Following PRISMA guidelines, we searched PubMed, Web of Science, Embase, and Scopus. We included all English-language human subject research articles that modeled any measure of TL as a dependent variable and exposure to a social stressor as an independent variable. For the sample of 105 articles, we summarized methods and findings by type of social stressor (socioeconomic stressors, stressful life events, work-related stressors, and neighborhood stressors) and by age of the study population (infants/children, middle-aged adults, older adults, and mixed samples of middle-aged and older adults). We found more variation in TL measurement methodology in studies of infants/children and older adults than in studies focusing on middle-aged adults. The most consistent finding was a relationship between early-life stressors and shorter TL. Work and neighborhood stressors, and older populations, are currently understudied. Across all stressors, limited evidence suggests that the stress-TL relationship may be moderated by characteristics such as age, sex, and race/ethnicity. We conclude with specific suggestions for future research.

Zhou, Yi, Andrea Slachevsky, and Esteban Calvo. 2018. Health Condition and Unmet Need for Assistance to Perform Activities of Daily Living among Older Adults with Dementia in Chile.”International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 33(7):964-71. Doi: 10.1002/gps.4879



Objective: This study aims to address gaps in health conditions and unmet needs in daily activities between people with dementia (PWD) and without dementia in a developing country and to identify the variables associated with unmet needs among PWD to guide practitioners and policymakers in dealing with an increased burden of dementia. Methods: Nationally representative data on 4655 Chileans age 60 and over were used to compare health conditions and unmet needs in daily life activities between individuals with (N = 455, 9.6%) and without dementia. Regression analysis was conducted to identify the variables associated with unmet needs among PWD. Results: Overall, PWD had worse health and needed greater assistance in performing daily activities than people without dementia. Among PWD, being male was associated with more unmet needs, in both activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental ADL. Lower educational level and fewer caregivers were associated with more unmet needs for ADL, while inferior functional ability was associated with more unmet needs for instrumental ADL. Conclusions: The results from this study call for action by practitioners and policymakers to foster caregiver training, increase supportive services, and advance care planning for PWD.

Special Issues (guest edited)

Tournier, I. & Vidovićová, L. (Eds.) (2018). Community and Space in Social Exclusion in Later Life. Sociální studia / Social Studies, 15 (1).


Torres, S. (Eds.) (2018). Old Age Exclusion: Theoretical, Conceptual and Critical Policy Contributions. International Journal of Aging and Later Life, 12(2):


In Memoriam

It is with great sadness that RC-11 has taken note of the passing of great researchers on aging in 2018. They and their work will be remembered by the scientific community.

Victor Marshall, Professor of Sociology at UNC-Chapel Hill and former director of the University’s Institute on Aging,passed away on August 18, 2018. He was a founding member of the Canadian Association on Gerontology, and his 1980 edited volume, Aging in Canada: Social Perspectives, was foundational to the growth of the field in Canada*. At the request of his family, donations to CAG in honour of his memory may be made here:

*With thanks to Prof. Ann-Martin Mathews for this Memoriam

Robert Rubinstein, Professor of Anthropology, Director of the Center for Aging Studies, and Affiliate Faculty in the Doctoral Program in Gerontology passed away on September 19, 2018. His famous works on older men, for example “Singular Paths: Single Men Living Alone” (1986), will continue to influence generations of ageing researchers.

Robert Atchley, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology and former director of Miami University’s Scripps Gerontology Center, passed away on November 13 2018. With his outstanding works on continuity and change in later life, including ‘The Sociology of Retirement’ (1976), and ‘Aging: Continuity and Change’ (1987), he has made major contributions to research on ageing.

Hal Kendig, Professor of Ageing and Public Policy in the Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing at the Australian National University (ANU), passed away on June 4 2018. Hal was widely known and respected as a sociologist and gerontologist both in Australia and internationally; this was formally recognised in his appointment as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, and a Distinguished Fellow of the Australian Association of Gerontology. His leading research on healthy and productive ageing, social inequalities over the life-course, and attitudes to ageing will have a lasting impact in the field of ageing research.*

*With thanks to Associate Professor Kate O’Loughlin for this In Memoriam.


Sandra Torres, Uppsala University, Sweden


Lucie Vidovićová, Masaryk University, Czech Republic
Jacob John Kattakayam, University of Kerala, India


Esteban Calvo, Universidad Mayor, Chile


Myra Hamilton, University of New South Wales, Australia


Anna Wanka, University of Frankfurt, Germany


Debora Price, University of Manchester, UK
Candace L. Kemp, Georgia State University, USA
Arvind Kumar Joshi, BHU Varanasi, India
Ilkka Pietila, University of Helsinki, Finland
Luke Gahan, La Trobe University, Australia
Ito Peng, University of Toronto, Canada
Martin Hyde, Swansea University, Wales
Francesco Barbabella, Linnaeus University, Sweden
Wendy Martin, Brunel University, UK
Ignacio Madero-Cabib, University of Chile