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“Circumstances, ways of life and social integration”

With the expansion of the phase of old age and the relevant age-structural changes and social differentiations of old age and ageing, a great variety has manifested itself in the circumstances and ways of life of the ageing population.

The Institute of Gerontology investigates these systematically, taking into account the scientific socio-political concept of life circumstances. The specific objects of research are the circumstances of older people characterised and/or threatened by social risks and problems (such as long-term unemployment, poverty, isolation, dementia, long-term care dependency).

The scope of research also includes individual and social potentials, benefits and strengths of old age and ageing (such as active life, good health, social integration, independence, prosperity, consumption, participation, productivity) and associated positive concepts of circumstances in old age. Apart from the individual circumstances of older persons, the basic principles of senior citizens’ policy which guide the Institute of Gerontology in its work also include the promotion and improvement of social and political participation of older people and their social integration.

“Employment, business and technology”

The demographic change is also having some long-term effects on the business sector. The changing age structure of consumers and company staff has far-reaching consequences regarding the range of consumer goods and services for old age. Products and services to improve the quality of life in old age, especially to preserve people’s independence in their domestic surroundings, are gaining in significance, as well as entire business segments and branches of industry (such as health services, the housing industry, IT and mobility).

Other issues are the design and organisation of work processes and corporate human resources policies, and the structuring of social security systems. The decline of the population (in gainful employment) and the resulting necessity to preserve the fitness for work and employability of older workers in a changing world of employment are bringing human-resources-related, organisational and socio-political questions into the focus of research.

In this context, the Institute of Gerontology deals with subjects such as:

  • changes in consumer needs, structures and behaviour among older people,
  • technical systems and solutions catering to the need for innovative means of orientation and assistance to support independence at an advanced age,
  • labour-market and socio-political implications of an ageing world of employment,
  • employment situation and prerequisites for the ability of older workers to continue in employment (age management concepts, human resources policies sensitive to demography).

“Senior citizens’ policies – scientific advice and planning for municipalities”

Demographic processes are not homogeneous. Therefore it is impossible to offer a uniform concept for managing the circumstances of a population which is ageing to a varying extent, but not declining everywhere either. On the contrary, any concepts for action must be based on the specific local conditions prevailing in each case.

The variations in such local conditions may not only be of a demographic, but also of a regional, economic, social and infrastructural nature.

The Institute of Gerontology supports the municipalities with its scientific expertise in the preparation of demography-related action concepts. This support is available to municipal political and administrative bodies, but also to institutions, organisations, associations, etc., which fulfil tasks resulting from the demographic change in the local context.

Support can be granted in the form of preparation of planning reports, implementation and/or scientific support of specific projects, or counselling in concept development.

Issues dealt with apart from demographic aspects are the overall circumstances (of senior citizens) in the municipality, including such topics as:

  • participation, voluntary and/or civic commitment
  • the economic strength of old age
  • housing and way of life
  • education and culture
  • healthcare and care giving.

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Forschungsgesellschaft für Gerontologie e.V. /
Institut für Gerontologie
an der TU Dortmund

Research Association
for Gerontology at
TU Dortmund University

Evinger Platz 13
44339 Dortmund
Phone: +49 231 / 728488-0
Fax: +49 231 / 728488-55




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