This paper focuses on individual and country-level circumstances shaping friendships between young and old to gain insight into conditions for intergenerational solidarity. Using European Social Survey data, findings show that relatively few people have cross-age friendships (18% of the young and 31% of the old). As predicted by the «meeting principle», individuals who operate in settings where there are opportunities for meaningful interactions with people belonging to a different age group are more likely to have cross-age friendships. As predicted by the «disposition principle», individuals with more favourable attitudes towards other age groups are more likely to have cross-age friendships. Neither the Active Ageing Index nor macro-level trust show significant associations with the likelihood of having cross-age friendships. Apparently, conditions that bring generations together are at the local level, underscoring the importance of decentralized initiatives aimed at increased contact and co-operation across age groups.
The idea underlying Active Ageing is to provide an environment that is rich in opportunities where old age is not synonymous with becoming dependent on others. Active Ageing strategies are based on social investment principles as they prevent the loss of valuable expertise, preserve the potential of older people, and strengthen society’s human and structural resilience. While at times these strategies focus on specific goals, they must be cast in a global approach that addresses all aspects of the lives of older people, most of which are brought together in the Active Ageing Index (AAI) project. The AAI is a quantitative measure of Active Ageing and it provides a flexible tool using 22 indicators to assess untapped potentials of older people, to capture the baseline position as well as to monitor overall progress and identify where challenges remain. The AAI evidence shows that an active life during old age is a reality for many Europeans and a genuine possibility for many more. Sweden is at the top of the ranking across the 28 EU Member States, followed closely by Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Four southern European countries (Italy, Portugal, Spain and Malta) are middle-ranked countries together with most other Western European countries. Greece and the majority of the Central and Eastern European countries are at the bottom. The fact that the top ranked countries have done consistently well across all domains is an indication that Active Ageing in different areas can be mutually reinforcing. At the same time, no country scores consistently at the very top of all the domains, indicating that there is progress to be made for everyone, albeit in different dimensions. Looking at the trends between the 2010 AAI and the 2014 AAI, a small increase of 2 points is recorded on average in the 28 EU Member States. This improvement is observed despite the financial and economic crisis and fiscal austerity measures during this period. Many aspects of Active Ageing are influenced by policies at the regional and local level. The effectiveness of the AAI as a tool for fostering better policies for Active Ageing therefore depends largely on its adoption by local and regional policymakers and stakeholders.
The social role played by elderly volunteers in Europe and in Italy is increasing: so, the paper analyses the policies in Europe and in Italy to enhance their social participation, intergenerational solidarity, practices of pro-sociality, as well as the elders’ social generativity at the national and European levels. A cluster analysis (with SPAD software) on a stratified randomized sample, representative of the Italian volunteers aged 65-74 years (N = 146) engaged in pro-social activities, clarifies their contribution to social welfare and to personal wellbeing. A difference between young elderly (aged 65-69 years) and persons aged 70-74 emerges. Furthermore, volunteering in later life is associated with a reinforcement of self-fulfillment, and the generation of one’s social identity.
Analysing the relationships and support among generations and understanding which factors favour or hinder them, is fundamental in order to conceive age-friendly societies. The paper aims at discussing issues related to social networks among older adults, intergenerational exchanges and support, based on a secondary analysis of research results obtained from SHARE survey data and on data from the Italian survey Non mi ritiro. The focus is on social networks structures among older adults, on their functional dimensions and on reciprocal exchanges among generations. We pay attention to both the methodological and theoretical frameworks of the selected analysis. Some final comments review those factors that facilitate or hinder intergenerational support at both the micro level of individuals and the macro level of social contexts in which they live.
This paper presents the main results of a national survey on Active Ageing, with a sample of 900 Italians aged between 65 and 74 years. The research aimed to understand the role of ICT in daily life of the elderly, in the attempt to answer the following questions: 1) What are the differences between the connected and not connected elderly? 2) What are the risks and opportunities perceived by the older ICT users? This paper investigates the complex relations between the elderly and technologies, going beyond both deterministic approaches and optimistic analyses of the use (and not-use) of the Internet among Italians elderly.
Questo articolo presenta i principali risultati di una ricerca nazionale sull'Active Ageing, effettuata su un campione di 900 italiani tra 65 e i 74 anni. La ricerca si pone l'obbiettivo di capire quale sia il ruolo dell'ICT nella vita dei più anziani, nel tentativo di rispondere alle seguenti domande: 1) Quali sono le differenze tra gli anziani connessi e quelli non connessi? 2) Quali sono i rischi e i benefici percepiti dagli anziani negli usi delle ICT da parte degli anziani? L'indagine si concentra sulla relazione tra anziani e tecnologie, nel superamento sia dell'approccio deterministico sia dell'analisi ottimistica sull'uso (e il non uso) di Interner tra gli Italiani più anziani.