TCD lecture asks “Have we forgotten older men in the debate about ageing?”

Posted on: 11 May 2006

As the debate intensifies about how our society should care for its increasingly elderly population, eminent sociologist, Professor Sara Arber, of the University of Surrey, in a lecture entitled, Reconceptualising Gender and Ageing: Have We Forgotten Older Men?, will address whether older men have been forgotten and outline the need for policymakers and community-based initiatives to recognize the needs of elderly men. The lecture is hosted by the Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies and the Social Policy and Ageing Unit at Trinity College.

The isolation to which older men become accustomed can subsequently affect the quality of their health, according to Prof. Arber. Men who never married often become isolated, socially disadvantaged and lose contact with their families, compared with the older unmarried woman who will establish and maintain close relations with her siblings, nieces and nephews, states Arber. “Without care and support at home and in the community, elderly men are more likely to suffer poorer health, to enter a home care setting at an earlier point, and have far fewer relationships than older women as they rarely have anyone visiting their home or rarely visit others.”

Prof Arber’s research involves new ways of thinking about old age, examining the need to reconceptualise partnership status, in order to understand the implications for women and men of widowhood, divorce and new forms of relationships, such as Living Apart Together (LAT-relationships). Another strand of her work is the influence of socio-economic circumstances on how ageing is experienced and transitions are negotiated.
Prof. Arber is co-director of the Centre for Research on Ageing and Gender at the University of Surrey. She has been Professor of Sociology at the University of Surrey since 1994 and was Head of the School of Human Sciences (2001-2004) and Head of the Sociology Department (1996-2002).