Global Aging

Global Aging responds to an increasing intellectual and public policy demand for understanding variation and commonalities in the aging process within and across populations. PARC’s research focus has always been remarkably international and this newly formulated signature theme aims at achieving a synthetic understanding of the social, economic, and environmental circumstances impacting the well-being of older individuals around the world. The representation of PARC Associates’ international research projects is impressive: Behrman in Guatemala, Chile and other Latin American countries, Cuhna in Brazil, Elo in Ghana, Flippen and Parrado in Mexico, Guillot, Elo and Smith in France, the Kohlers and Watkins in Malawi, and Valeggia and Fernandez-Duque in Argentina and Guatemala. The main overarching questions of this theme are: How does it look like to “grow old” in different countries? Do aging trajectories reflect local environmental (social/cultural/economic/epidemiological) pressures? Can we identify a common “human aging pattern” underlying the observed variation? Here, variation in demographic parameters associated with aging is not seen as mere noise, but becomes the center of research attention per se. H-P. Kohler’s recent work on disability transitions and health expectancies among older Malawians is an excellent example of this approach. In this competing renewal application, H-P. Kohler and I. Kohler present a pilot proposal to evaluate work effort and health in mature adults in Malawi that will link this theme with the fourth one (see Core B.). Elo’s recent PARC pilot award also links those themes by looking at the health and well-being of African migrants and their families, in the US and in their country of origin. In addition, and following the spirit of this theme, three of the innovative research networks (LANA, NASSA, and NeMA) build on the global aging concept.