The New Responsibilities of Social Sciences in Aging Societies: The Case of Spain

Dr. Nuria Rodriguez Avila,
Dr. Montserrat Guillen Estany,
Dr. Barbara Ann Strassberg
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Montserrat Guillen introduces statistical data on the aging of the Spanish society, of the populations in specific regions of Spain, and on the aging of the Spanish immigrant populations. Guillen writes about the development of new statistical methodologies that help predict with a higher level of accuracy the needs of the aging populations in the ‘global core.’ The data she obtains in her research, among other issues, focus on age categories that present the highest risk of becoming dependent in the performance of their daily activities, including the administration of medication. Next, Nuria Rodriguez gives an overview of the significance of the work performed by social scientists for the practice of social welfare in the Spanish society. She addresses the political, economic, and social ramifications of aging in a welfare society and presents some examples of efforts undertaken by the Spanish society to address the unique needs generated by the processes of aging of that society. Among those efforts are the courses in gerontology taught at universities and textbooks published for such courses. Finally, Barbara Strassberg discusses the ‘need to know’ about various aspects of aging in societies of the global core, and about the connection between research, education and social welfare. She emphasizes the need to engage the school curricula in the process of increasing the students’ awareness of issues related to aging and immigration. Using the data presented by Guillen and the course content developed by Rodriguez, Strassberg offers a model to help societies raise the ‘literacy’, ‘competence’, and ‘moral responses’ towards aging, among their younger generations.

Keywords: Aging, Dependency Risk, Ethics, Gerontology, Spain, Statistical Methodologies, Welfare
Stream: Education and Social Welfare
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: New Responsibilities of Social Sciences in Aging Societies, The

Dr. Nuria Rodriguez Avila

Professor of Sociology, Department de Sociologia y Analisis de las Organizaciones, University of Barcelona
Barcelona, Spain

Professor of Sociology at the University of Barcelona and the Catalonian Open University. Mainly worked in the area of sociology of gerontology and coordinated research projects on aging and the social costs of aging at the Grupo Investigación Envejecimiento, Parc Cientific Barcelona. These were surveys of health, longevity, long-term care, funded by private firms and by Instituto de Mayores y Servicios Sociales. In 2000, she received an award from the Catalonian Geriatric and Gerontology Foundation and the third prize from the National Professional Association of Medicine, Barcelona, Spain. Co-authored a book El coste de la dependencia published by Herder in 2003, and received a grant from the Iberoamerican Congress of Social Gerontology CIAGS, National Council of Science and Technology. In 2006, the University of Barcelona published her textbook for the courses in Sociology of Gerontology.

Dr. Montserrat Guillen Estany

Chair and Professor of Econometrics, Department of Econometrics, University of Barcelona
Barcelona, Spain

Chair, Professor of Econometrics at the University of Barcelona and Director of the research group on Risk in Finance and Insurance. Mainly worked in the area of actuarial statistics and insurance economics and has coordinated many research projects on health surveys, longevity, long-term care insurance, insurance fraud and insurance rate-making, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Education and the Instituto de Mayores y Servicios Sociales. Also collaborated with firms in Spain and abroad on the development of statistical methods for life insurance. In 2003, the Casual Actuarial Society awarded her and co-authors for the best paper published in the Journal of Risk and Insurance, and in 2004, she received the Premio Internacional de Seguros Julio Castelo Matrán. Co-authored Longevidad y Dependencia en España: Esperanza de vida según grados de discapacidad e implicaciones en la demanda de cuidados de larga duración, published in 2006, by the Fundación BBVA. In 2007, she will give a plenary session lecture at the World Meeting of the International Statistical Institute.

Dr. Barbara Ann Strassberg

Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Aurora University
Aurora, Illinois, USA

Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Sociology Program at Aurora University, Aurora, Illinois, USA. Her academic interests focus on sociology of culture, especially on issues of ethics, human rights, and social justice. In 1982, she received an award from the Polish Academy of Sciences for her book on assimilation of Polish immigrants in Chicago, and in 1984, she was awarded a grant by the American Council of Learned Societies to continue her research in the United States. Her academic degrees have been awarded by the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland, but she also completed a doctoral program at Ecole Superieure des Hautes Etudes, in Paris, France, and continued her postdoctoral studies at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. She is the author of two books, over 100 articles, book chapters, book reviews, and conference papers. Her most recent articles published in Zygon are devoted to ethics and global health challenges, such as the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and organ transplantation.

Ref: I07P0199