The Sciences of Ageing and the Culture of Youth (SAACY) is a project funded by a UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowship. It looks at how we talk and think about ageing and how the way we do so can affect our experiences and ideas of what ageing means.
Cultural pessimism about ageing endangers all facets of intergenerational solidarity; it shapes perceptions of the worth and value of human beings and directs decisions about care, research and funding priorities. SAACY wants to inform practices and policy development in these areas through asking whether we can overcome cultural pessimism by understanding ageing as a lifelong process of change rather than something that happens at the end of our lives.
Our research is driven by two questions: how does culture frame the questions and paradigms of scientists and researchers when they think about ageing and diseases of old age? And how do scientific research developments and assumptions act as cultural forces - in particular, how do they influence societal approaches to dementia?
To address these questions, SAACY takes a multipronged approach that reaches across disciplines and sectors. A literature-based study closely attends to the dialogue between cultural discourses and scientific models of ageing. Our sociological study explores meanings and anticipations of ageing with our project partners from the third sector. And, in collaboration with the King’s Policy Institute and older people, SAACY aims to develop policy change for the ageing population.
We are committed to conducting our research with and for those who will be affected by it. We work with a range of Project Partners, including charities, think tanks and community groups to achieve this aim.
Tony Britton, The Pam Britton Trust for Dementia
“The Pam Britton Trust For Dementia very much welcomes this opportunity to work with Dr. Zimmermann on this most valuable research project focusing on dementia. This is important for us as it enhances our work locally to achieve change for those directly concerned. This most complex illness which is currently without a cure, has long required more factual knowledge and understanding.”
Aideen Young, The Centre for Ageing Better
"Ageing Better’s recent report showed that attitudes to ageing and to older people in the UK are mostly negative, with older people seen as incompetent, hostile or a burden on society. As our population ages, it’s vital that we dismantle the insidious ageism in society. We look forward to the outcomes of Martina’s work looking at the genesis of this damaging narrative."