The prevailing socially constructed narrative of old age is one of illness, declining personal autonomy, and disadvantages. “Negative images of ageing limit our perceptions of how we would like to see ourselves at an old age,” says Ulla Kriebernegg. “People can redefine who they want to be at any time in their lives. One prerequisite for this is considering people’s needs on an individual level, so that ageing comfortably is possible for everyone,” she underlines.
In the USA and in Canada, the image of old people in literature, film, and art plays an important role. This was the starting point for Ulla Kriebernegg, Associate Professor of American Cultural and Literary Studies at the University of Graz, to approach the topic of ageing from a European perspective. As the Vice Chair of the European Network in Aging Studies, and founder of the Age and Care Research Group Graz, she investigates the images that our society associates with old age.