One of the greatest challenges that society faces is the growing proportion elderly in the population. In the near future, a larger proportion of people are going to be pensioners and demand a larger share of medical care. At the same time, fewer are going to work, pay tax and have the possibility of taking care of the elderly.
The strong research environment consists of the research programme Ageing and Living Conditions. Here researchers are working to find ways to understand and handle this set of problems. Researchers from different subjects within humanities, medicine and social science are part of this environment. Together they are trying to answer questions such as: Why is it that some people are healthy and active late into life while others quickly become sick and weak? How does the professional life affect a person’s life as a pensioner? Which factors make a person have a “successful” ageing? What characterises successful ageing?
The researchers have access to some of the most detailed databases in the world. One of them is the unique Linnaeus database. It connects four existing databases together, and it means that researchers can study data about health, accommodation, lifestyle, memory, family relationships and work in an entirely new way. They can follow people during a long period and see how different factors in a person’s life affect each other. The environment is closely linked to the Demographic database at Umeå University where, among other things, data can be retrieved from Swedish church records about people’s living conditions from the 17oos and onwards. Ageing and Living Conditions (ALC) received one of the Swedish Research Council’s Linnaeus Grants, and is a close collaborator with a series of international researchers environments, among others, the Max Planck Institute in Berlin and Harvard University in the USA.