British Society of Gerontology 46th Annual Conference, 2017
Professor Debora Price chaired two linked symposia at the annual conference of the British Society of Gerontology entitled:
Lifecourse influences on health and wellbeing in later life
Governments around the world are extending working life through postponement of state pensions and other policy measures to meet perceived fiscal pressures from demographic ageing and austerity conditions. Gerontologists, sociologists and social policy analysts have all expressed concern at the implications for social inequalities for people with different life histories and opportunities, especially worried for those who will struggle to meet the new expectations of paid work.
In this series of two linked symposia, we examine the implications of new policy agendas to extend working lives from a number of different perspectives.
In the first symposium, we present three papers from the WHERL project: Work, Health, Retirement and the Lifecourse, one of the Extending Working Lives projects under the Lifelong Health and Wellbeing Programme funded by the ESRC/MRC. In this session we look particularly at unequal outcomes related to working up to and beyond state pension age. (1) Laurie Corna uses data from the BHPS to determine who it is that is still in paid work in mid- and later- life, and how these patterns of work relate to earlier work and family histories. (2) Lawrence Sacco looks at the implications of work and family histories for paid work, care and volunteering in mid- and later life, and asks what the implications of the extending working lives agenda might be for these unpaid roles, and (3) Giorgio Di Gessa examines inequalities in the ways that working beyond state pension age affects quality of life for different groups of people.
In the second symposium, we present three papers examining differential outcomes in mid- and later-life as a result of experiences through the lifecourse, and consider the implications for lifelong inequalities. In the first paper, Martin Hyde uses ELSA data to examine the impact of lifelong learning on the likelihood of remaining in work in mid- and later life, and considers the implications for unequal trajectories through the life course. In the second paper, Hayley James presents early findings from research that employs a constructivist qualitative methodology to investigate the prospective saving strategies of working age individuals (including not saving at all), and how they rationalise these strategies in relation to their present and future selves. In the final paper Debora Price uses modelling from the WHERL project to show how the diversity of women’s working lives results in highly unequal financial outcomes in later life and asks what the implications of these findings might be for policy.
In addition Debora Price presents a paper from the WHERL project in a symposium chaired by Professor Tom Scharf entitled: Inequalities in Later Life: Towards a New Agenda for Research, Policy and Practice . In Debora’s paper we present an overview of headline findings from the WHERL project investigating the implications of men’s and women’s highly gendered life courses for a range of health, well-being and financial outcomes in later life, and British Society of Gerontology Conference 2017conclude with some key messages.