Research Field: Old Age, Inequality and Health
Our research addresses questions arising from well-known demographic and epidemiological trends: the overriding significance of chronic diseases for morbidity and mortality, the ageing societies and unequal socioeconomic distribution of health chances, which continues into old age. These developments will present two major challenges for health policy over the coming years and decades. The first is to create integrated forms of healthcare for people suffering from chronic and multiple conditions. The second is to develop primary prevention, with equal opportunities for access and use for socially and economically disadvantaged groups of older people.
Our main task will be to examine local innovations and to look at how they fit into more general policy approaches: What societal approaches do local innovations pursue and what kind of response do they represent to the above mentioned challenges? What are the political, social and cultural reasons for the success or failure of innovative solutions? What kinds of political developments, institutional configurations and regulations have an impact at the local, regional, national or sectoral level?
We plan to explore the entire spectrum of health-care provision for older people, from primary prevention measures aimed at people who have retired from professional life to the medical and nursing care of very old people suffering from chronic and multiple diseases. We will also look at the – health-relevant – connections between developments in health policy in the narrower sense and more general questions of social participation and civic engagement.
We will use multi-level and mutiple-case study designs to examine the variance in local innovations and to analyse how they interact with meso and macro contexts. Some of our research will compare different European countries in order to gain insights that go beyond the limits of national perspectives. We will also participate in national and European research networks.