In modern Risk Societies where scientific knowledge might be insufficient to tackle emerging challenges, including voices and experiences of older adults as experts-by-experience creates a space for better understanding contemporary ageing societies. However the participation of older adults in research and policy-making is a relatively new concept comprising a number of approaches like “inclusive research”, “user-led research”, “community research”, “participatory action research” (PAR), “collaborative research” , „citizen science” or “co-research” that produce dispersed and fragmented knowledge on participatory approaches with older adults.
This paper reports on the findings of a scoping review that investigated the ways in which older adults are involved in the research process in social sciences. The work represents the initial phase of a larger Austrian citizen science study „SEVEN: Socially Excluded Older Adults: Voices and Experiences” considering co-creation of research on exclusion from social relations in older age.
Findings highlight the potential of participatory approaches not only for improving policy and research designs but also to address the particularly pronounced power imbalance in the research and policy-making processes (between researchers and older adults and policy-makers and older adults respectively).
I conclude that this shift in power between research subjects and researchers/ policy makers is needed for explaining and understanding contemporary ageing societies in Europe and designing policy addressing the risks they pose to older people.