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Unequal ageing

Unequal ageing: The untold story of exclusion in old age

Paul Cann
Malcolm Dean
Copyright Date: 2009
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  • Book Info
    Unequal ageing
    Book Description:

    This powerful book analyses the vital dimensions of money, health, place, quality of life and identity, and demonstrates the gaps of treatment and outcomes between older and younger people, and between different groups of older people. Written by leading experts in the field, it provides strong evidence of the scale of current disadvantage in the UK and suggests actions that could begin to change the picture of unequal ageing. 'Unequal ageing' is aimed at all those with a serious interest in the unprecedented challenge of our ageing society. It will be of importance to policy-makers, opinion-formers, and above all to older people themselves.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-791-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of tables and figures
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Notes on contributors
    (pp. vii-x)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. ONE How social age trumped social class?
    (pp. 1-24)
    Malcolm Dean

    As New Year’s Day dawned in 2009 there was a very special 100th anniversary. No, not another centenarian qualifying for a Queen’s ‘telegram’, but the 100th anniversary of the start of British state pensions, introduced by Lloyd George’s Liberal government on 1 January 1909. Grateful recipients were reported to have cried ‘God bless the Lord George’ as they collected the first of their weekly five shillings (25p, or about£20 in today’s money).¹ For financial reasons the Treasury had insisted that it should not start before people were aged 70, and there should be strict means tests. So nothing unfamiliar...

  7. TWO Too tight to mention: unequal income in older age
    (pp. 25-52)
    Thomas Scharf

    The UK is one of the world’s most affluent nations. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the UK had a gross domestic product (GDP) per head of about US$36,500 in 2008, placing it above most other European countries, including France, Germany, Spain and Italy. Notwithstanding the economic downturn that began in 2008, the evidence shows that, over time, average incomes in the UK have increased substantially and the nation’s wealth has continued to grow.

    Against this background, it might seem puzzling to focus in this chapter so single-mindedly on issues relating to poverty and material disadvantage, but I do...

  8. THREE The uneven dividend: health and well-being in later life
    (pp. 53-76)
    Anna Coote

    Health is a precious resource. It is a basic need, shared by all human beings in every country of the world.¹ Our state of health strongly influences our ability to enjoy life, to participate in society and to fulfil our potential, as well as the way we feel about ourselves and – often – how others feel about us.

    In later life, more than at any other time except perhaps in the few months after we are born, health is a critical factor that defines us, enables us and constrains us. It determines what growing old means to us. How...

  9. FOUR No place like home? Housing inequality in later life
    (pp. 77-100)
    Sue Adams

    The quality of a home shapes quality of life. The physical condition of a person’s home and the qualities of the neighbourhood in which they live influence their health and ability to be involved with their family, friends and social networks.³ Housing suitability and standards play a key role in determining emotional well-being, including an individual’s sense of engagement with, or exclusion from, wider society. Home is inextricably linked to personal identity, social status and sense of having control over one’s life.⁴ Quality and suitability of place are key determinants of the experience of growing older,⁵ hence the centrality of...

  10. FIVE What does it mean to be old?
    (pp. 101-122)
    Baroness Julia Neuberger

    We live in an inherently ageist society – ageism is well recognised and it is the most commonly experienced form of discrimination.⁴ Whether it is the lack of provision of automatic call and recall for breast cancer screening for women over 73 (the implication is that they are no longer part of the working and therefore ‘useful’ population, so their lives do not matter as much as those of younger women), or the assumption that it is perfectly acceptable to play blaring rock music on the radio to a room full of frail older people in a care home because...

  11. SIX A life worth living? Quality of life in older age
    (pp. 123-140)
    Bryan Appleyard

    ‘After 60 – no matter what – your skin can let you down,’ says Jane Fonda in a 2009 television advertisement for a L’Oréal skincare product for older women.

    It seems like only yesterday – it was, in fact, 1982 – that Fonda, then 45, was teaching us to tone our bodies in her firstWorkoutvideo. In doing so, she launched the exercise craze of the 1980s with all the attendant glorifications of the perfect, gym-fit body. It was an aspect of the age’s yearning for self-actualisation, the belief in the autonomous, monadic self that also produced the financial...

  12. SEVEN Why is ageing so unequal?
    (pp. 141-158)
    Alan Walker

    So far, this book has catalogued the extent of unequal ageing in Britain and its impact on older people. It falls to this chapter to try to explain the apparent paradox of the co-existence of great wealth and extreme poverty in old age in a society that is not only one of the most economically advanced in the world but one which also has a long, often radical, tradition favouring civil rights, citizenship and equality – a tradition which united British people both in wartime and in the post-war construction of society and the welfare state and which is witnessed...

  13. EIGHT Rewriting the story
    (pp. 159-172)
    Paul Cann

    We have acknowledged big strides forward over the past decade. Some indicators of poverty have shown sustained reductions in the number of older people who live on less than a recognised level of low income. Pension Credit in particular has helped many older people carry on doing the things that are important to them.

    Likewise, periodic transport concessions since 2000 have helped people enjoy their leisure more and stay in touch with family and friends. Although at 68 per cent¹ the rate of take-up of the concessions is low, and although bus travel is only one part of getting out...

  14. Index
    (pp. 173-179)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 180-180)