Free University of Berlin
Department of Education and Psychology
Division Qualitative Social and Education Research
Demographic and economic changes during the last decades place new challenges for the generation that is aging at the moment. People are living longer, healthier lives, but they have more insecure job situations and less children. Germany is the EU country with the largest number of people over 65 and twice as many old people as compared to youth (Statistisches Bundesamt, 2011). The growing number of people with low paid jobs, free lancers and part-time work contracts makes it more difficult for people to prepare for their old age. Moreover, a higher percent of an old population can represent a burden to the health and pension systems. This can lead to future inequalities in health in old age, even without taking education and immigrant background into account. The question is how can one age in a healthy, positive way despite the difficult social circumstances? What factors can act as resources for developing and using good coping strategies to deal with aging?
The Health Assets Model (Morgan & Ziglio, 2010) encourages a new approach to health policy. The focus should be on the resources that people and communities have instead of the problems and deficits. The research project “Resources for positive aging” aims to identify the resources for positive aging from the perspective of middle aged individuals with or without pension insurance as well as professionals working within the health or insurance systems (family doctor, psychologist, insurance agent etc.). The focus is on the thinking patterns that help people to reflect constructively on aging despite their insecure living conditions. In order to answer the research questions, survey data (from the German Center of Gerontology) and interview data are used. Both qualitative and quantitative analysis methods are applied. Results will inform practice in intervention and prevention as well as health policy for positive aging.