Older People and the Welfare Response
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Because older people may so often be typified either as ‘retired’ or as ‘dependent’, or both, there is a concentration of social responses to ageing, in public policy and professional practice, towards the meeting of needs. Such responses take the form either of financial and practical support, or of social and health care. An important characteristic of Europe as an advanced industrial society is the range of provision for older people (Little, 1979; Jamieson, 1991a). Cross-national reviews demonstrate the similarities of types of response in the different countries, although they also reveal wide variations in the extent to which any one service may be available (Little, 1979; Amann, 1980b; Hunter, 1986; Jamieson, 1991a). While a degree of generalisation is possible, it is important also to consider cross-national differences. In this chapter I will begin to examine the range of services for older people which have developed in European countries, emphasising the interconnection between the dimensions of such services concerning questions of where older people live and any care which they may receive. The discussion is focused on a typological approach to understanding the varying pattern of services in Europe. The chapter concludes by examining questions about who uses and who benefits from these services.
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