Joëlle Gaymu

tells us about INED’s new Old age and Ageing research group [Pôle Vieillesses et Vieillissements]

© Ined - Colette Confortès

Joëlle Gaymu, an INED demographer and researcher, coordinates the Old Age and Ageing research group. She studies all topics concerning demographic ageing and the living conditions of older persons, including two wide-ranging European projects on the subject.

(Interview from September 2011)

What led to creating the Old Age and Ageing research group?

The idea arose from a longstanding desire to the share the knowledge and expertise on these themes amassed at INED and the more recent need, related to the thoroughgoing research reforms under way, to ensure better visibility for the diversity of our research on these questions. Like our group name in French (Pôle Vieillesses et Vieillissements), INED research on these subjects is plural: the research questions, analytical methods used and geographical fields studied are all extremely varied.

Who is participating?

The group includes approximately 30 researchers, because half of INED’s key research projects are concerned in one way or another with old age and ageing. In addition to keeping track of demographic trends in the matter, the following five research axes have been identified for studying the major challenges of demographic ageing: mortality and longevity, health and autonomy, families and intergenerational relations, income and housing, and gender inequality. All are studied from a variety of perspectives and using different methods. Projects draw on life course analysis, population and official record surveys, and specific surveys. Emphasis is on international comparison within Europe and among southern countries. Some projects involve debate on method (oldest old mortality, population forecasts) and most are recognized for shedding valuable light on the social issues at the core of today’s political and policy debates.

What are the group’s current and future activities?

The first thing we’ve done is to develop a mini website. The different topic sections are regularly updated (new projects, studies in progress, new publications) and they illustrate INED’s weight in this research field. We also aim to facilitate public access to these studies by way of subject tabs). To increase both national and international visibility of research studies done at INED, the group posts calls for papers and conferences. We also aim to share research tools (bibliographical analyses, methods) and make information available to the entire research community working on these subjects. Lastly, the group is a forum for exchange and shared activities. We will be holding regular theme-based seminars and presentations of research in progress. We are also planning to organize colloquium sessions and to develop a collective work on old age and ageing for the general public.