Ageing Well: Imagining the Good Life and Memories– Pop-up CityLab in Bochum

Virtual Place

Date

Start: 08.07.2021
End: 08.07.2021

Partners

City Bochum

The UNIC Pop-up CityLab focuses on the exchange of experiences and the question of the relationship between good ageing and memories and which research questions and practical recommendations for action can be derived from this.

22 including: researchers, university staff members, members/users of local associations.

  • 5 researchers
  • 14 participants of public institutions and organizations
  • 1 city representative
  • 2 organizers

o The first contribution by Janina Kandt from the Social Welfare Office of the City of Bochum approaches the topic from a municipal perspective (city of Bochum) and raises the question of the extent to which older people can contribute their ideas of the "good life" and what role memories play in this. Memories are reflected in a person's individual environment, such as their home or even their neighborhood. A move to a nursing home is therefore a major disruption that can take away part of one's identity and part of one's self-confidence. The city's goal must therefore be to enable people to age in their own homes. Senior citizen offices often act as an interface between the city and the people. However, many other actors with their various competencies must also be involved, such as the neighborhood help centers or the Alzheimer's Association. The city must also provide the necessary infrastructure with essential stores, local pharmacies, and low-threshold services. A lot is already being done in this area. However, these issues must always be taken into consideration.

o In her impulse presentation, Friederike Müller from IFAK e.V. Verein für Multikulturelle Kinder- und Jugendhilfe-Migrationsarbeit reports on biography work as a method for developing needs. Biography work is used to talk about age experiences, family, wishes and desires. In this way, commonalities can be found between people of different generations. At the same time, it is also possible to recognize how diverse older people are. It is important to reflect this diversity in the services offered to the elderly. Sensitivity to different lifestyles and cultural backgrounds is needed. This applies in particular to the target group of migrants, who are often characterized by close family ties and appreciate intergenerational approaches all the more. If seniors are integrated into school lessons, they can serve as a resource and, as contemporary witnesses, report on their own migration history, for example. There must be room to include those affected in all steps.

o Andreas Schindler from the Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft Seniorenbüros NRW (NRW State Working Group for Senior Citizens' Offices) devotes his contribution to the question of the extent to which identity and voluntary commitment are connected. Volunteering is initially seen as something positive that provides structure and satisfaction and can also fill any "vacuum of meaning". In his work, however, the gerontologist observes three different types of seniors in this context: 1. people who are simply not willing to take on volunteer work, 2. people who want to continue exercising the skills they have acquired over the course of their lives, and 3. people who want to get involved but want to create a complete break from their previous activities. In this regard, volunteer work is sometimes part of a biographical continuity and in other cases an attempt to construct a new identity. Therefore, there is no one type of elderly person, so relying only on a single acquisition strategy cannot work. The different biographies and patterns of interpretation must also be considered in the conception of the programs.

o This is followed by a lively discussion led by Prof. Dr. Stefan Berger, which focuses in particular on the socio-economic conditions of older people in the Ruhr region. Memories, according to the participants, can be a resource for the "good life," but equally a reminder that life has thrown them a curve. Old-age poverty is an important frame of reference for many people – especially in the Ruhr region. Questions about volunteering must therefore always be embedded in the discourse on social security.

o Main findings:

  • Memories are reflected in a person's individual environment e.g. home, neighborhood. Therefore, to move to a -- nursing home is therefore a major disruption that can take away part of one's identity and part of one's self-confidence
  • Diversity of elderly isn’t considered appropriate in the services offered to the elderly. Sensitivity to different lifestyles and cultural backgrounds is needed.
  • Volunteering is initially seen as something positive for elderly that provides structure and satisfaction and can also fill any "vacuum of meaning". But Therefore, there is no one type of elderly person, so relying only on a single acquisition strategy cannot work.

Tags

UNIC CityLabs | Post-Industrial Cities

Themes

Diversity and Inclusion | Post-industrial Cities | Ageing well

Type of case

discussion group

Languages

German

Organizing unic universities

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