SHARE Findings Newsletter No. 3 - December 2020
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SHARE is part of the
Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy


SHARE Findings Newsletter


This newsletter informs about selected new research findings based on data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE).

All texts in these articles can be used for press reports.

Please enjoy reading our SHARE Findings Newsletter.

Being social helps to stay mentally fit

SHARE-based study shows that sociality improves quality of life and cognitive functions in old age
European populations are ageing, with significant adverse effects both on individuals and our social systems. Researchers aim to understand physical and mental ageing better in order to develop innovative strategies for mitigation. One such strategy protecting against cognitive decline comes without a prescription: Being social helps individuals to stay mentally fit. Thus, the authors support social policy approaches that promote the participation of older people in a wide range of activities.  >> Read more

Gender gap in late-life cognition

SHARE data suggest a strong link between improved living standards and cognition ability in later life

SHARE data can help understanding causes and identify potential remedies to current health policy challenges such as the gender gap in cognitive decline, which sees women at a higher risk of developing dementia than men. A new analysis of data on cognitive ability, educational attainment and living standards now demonstrates how improved living conditions impact cognitive abilities in later life more than better educational opportunities.  >> Read more

Socioeconomic factors influence pain medication use

Medication is a key strategy to mitigate pain, yet it is less accessible to those with fewer resources

Around 40% of older adults in Europe and Israel suffer chronic pain - as well as associated social and financial repercussions. To manage their pain, they may rely on physiotherapy, nerve stimulation, and medication, which is a key tool to lessen pain and improve overall quality of life. However, only half of the patients receive any medication, given that pain medication often requires cost-sharing or out-of-pocket payments, revealing deep social inequalites in pain mangament strategies in later life.
>> Read more

Wills and wealth in the context of
national intestacy laws

Explaining the connection between will use and surviving spouses’ retained wealth
Losing a spouse is not only a mentally burdensome event, but often also a large financial shock to the surviving family - as underlined by the relatively high rates of poverty among widows who were not experiencing financial hardship during marriage. 60% of decedents die intestate, while research highlights how surviving spouses benefit from regulations laid out in a will. Therefore, since poverty in retirement remains a major risk, especially for widowed women, will use should be increasingly considered as a preventive.   >> Read more
About SHARE:
SHARE, the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, is a research infrastructure for studying the effects of health, social, economic and environmental policies over the life-course of European citizens and beyond. From 2004 until today, 380,000 in-depth interviews with 140,000 people aged 50 or older from 28 European countries and Israel have been conducted. Thus, SHARE is the largest pan-European social science panel study providing internationally comparable longitudinal micro data which allows insights in the fields of public health and socio-economic living conditions of European individuals, both for scientists and policy makers. SHARE has global impact since it not only covers all EU member countries in a strictly harmonized way but additionally is embedded in a network of sister studies all over the world, from the Americas to Eastern Asia. SHARE is centrally coordinated at the Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA), a division of the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, directed by Prof. Dr. h.c. Axel Börsch-Supan, Ph.D. as Managing Director of SHARE-ERIC.
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