Handbooks of Research on Public Policy series
Chapter 31: Demographic change and the role of older people in the voluntary sector
The European Commission announced that 2012 is the ‘European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations’, thereby continuing previous support by the EU and its member states for projects aiming to promote elders’ active participation in civil society. Although formal volunteering is closely associated with other unpaid productive activities within and outside the family (such as informal volunteering or caring; cf. Choi et al., 2007; Hank and Stuck, 2008), it is often considered as the single most important contribution of elders to civil society (but see the critical discussion in Martinez et al., 2011). Against this background, the present chapter aims at providing a brief overview of patterns and determinants, policy issues and problems related to formal volunteering among older Europeans, supplemented by some information on the situation in the USA.
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