Date of Award

Spring 2013

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of science in nursing (BSN)


Global Honors

First Advisor

Janet Primomo, Ph.D., RN


By 2025, the global demographic trend reveals a chalice-like structure, indicating an aging population. Active Aging (AA) policies are sustained on social capital or networking wherein people are successful, positive, and experiencing a high quality of life in their aging years. The major backbones supporting activity in the elderly must be reinforced by the culture of that society, the policies and the political support which is witnessed in societies with a large aging population, such as Italy. Adopting culturally inappropriate policies contrary to social norms create social dilemmas, thereby policies are rejected and no change occurs.

Objective: To present the coalition of policy and culture as corroborated in this Italian case study with the intention of examining the ramifications for policy implementation in the United States.

Methodology: Participatory observation in UW Italian Nursing Study Abroad, interviews with local people, and literature review of socio-anthropological analysis of the Italian culture and its policies on aging.

Limitation: The critical Italian literature research accessed is limited to English resources only, as most research articles are published in Italian language.

Conclusion: Adopting culturally appropriate policies make those policies more effective and long-lasting. At the core of effective implementation of AA is the need for a broad social support from the younger generation. The elderly who were not physically active in their 30s, nor whose activity was not made easier by environmental age-friendly structures, cannot expect to have a 360-degree change. Habits are developed through time. The AA policies do not concern just the elderly – these concern our future.