Social exclusion of older people is a direct barrier to Europe’s social and economic development

Oct 28 2016 Posted: 14:02 IST

 International conference is opening event of ROSEnet, a four-year innovative collaboration between researchers and policy stakeholders across Europe

Social exclusion of older people is a direct barrier to Europe’s social and economic development. That was the message from an international conference on ‘Old-Age Social Exclusion’ hosted today by the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society in NUI Galway.

With consequences for individuals, families, and welfare and care systems in Europe, old-age exclusion involves multifaceted forms of disadvantage. It can, as a result impact on economic, social relations, services, civic rights and community areas of life.

Presenting new research from different European and international locations, speakers at the conference identified key mechanisms of exclusion across these different life domains. Panel discussion members from European policy stakeholder organisations highlighted critical challenges and opportunities for social and public policy arising from social exclusion patterns and demographic ageing across Europe.

The international conference was the opening event of a four-year innovative collaboration between researchers and policy stakeholders across Europe, entitled Reducing Old-Age Exclusion in Europe: Collaborations in Research and Policy, or ROSEnet.

“Old-age exclusion undermines EU goals on Healthy and Active Ageing. But more than this, and because there will be an additional 17 million older people by 2020, it may mean that the European Commission’s target of reducing the number of people in exclusion by 20 million, by 2020, is unachievable”, said Dr Kieran Walsh, Acting Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, and Chair of ROSEnet.       

“Currently, existing policy in this area can lack relevance for older people’s lives and is often not prioritised politically. It also rarely recognises how ageing and social exclusion patterns intersect to produce significant consequences for states and societies.”

ROSEnet is funded by the European COST Association and aims to overcome critical knowledge gaps and fragmentation in research and policy to tackle social exclusion amongst older people in Europe and beyond.ROSEnet involves over 100 researchers and policy stakeholders from across 37 countries. Marking the first cross-national initiative of its kind, ROSEnet will produce shared cross-sector understandings of disadvantage in later life in order to direct the development of new policy and practice interventions for reducing exclusion in diverse European ageing societies.

“It is only by sharing existing research knowledge and developing new collaborative partnerships between researchers and policy makers, that we can really begin to think about the best way to combat exclusion for older people, nationally and internationally”, added Dr Kieran Walsh.

Over its four-year duration, ROSEnet will host a series of research and policy events across Europe and produce a series of related outputs and publications, including position papers, policy briefing notes and academic publications.

The conference involved European and international researchers and key European-level policy stakeholders. It presented critical debate and analysis of state-of-the-art research and knowledge and explored new directions in policy development on exclusion in later life.

Speakers focused on social, economic, service, civic rights, and community/spatial forms of exclusion, and in doing so will provide insight into the intersection of demographic ageing, recognised as a significant European issue, and social exclusion, a Europe 2020 priority.


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