Social Policies for Old Age: A Review of Social Provision for Old Age in Great Britain

Social Policies for Old Age: A Review of Social Provision for Old Age in Great Britain

Social Policies for Old Age: A Review of Social Provision for Old Age in Great Britain

Social Policies for Old Age: A Review of Social Provision for Old Age in Great Britain

Excerpt

Few problems in the fields of the social sciences have received a more rapidly rising degree of attention in recent years than those concerned with the ageing of the population. This book is intended to make a general review, in the light of the considerable literature of research and discussion now available, of the foundations of present-day social policies for old age; and to examine some of the perplexing open questions which those policies expose.

These questions are perplexing, partly because in large measure they raise difficult problems of choice for the community, but partly also because our knowledge of the basic facts upon which social policies ought to be founded has itself been radically altered by recent studies. Thus the statistical forecasts of only a decade ago of the future numbers of the aged have had to be substantially revised, and the alarm of a few years ago at the magnitude of the 'burden of the old' has been considerably relieved. But social policy is not always easily shaped to the latest development of factual knowledge. For such reasons a general study of fact and argument bearing upon these problems may perhaps be judged to be of value. And it is hoped that the student seeking a broad introduction to the subject may find it useful to have material from numerous scattered and specialized studies gathered together and brought under review.

Further, we have had some considerable experience of the operation of services for the old, and it is now possible to make some assessment of their measure of success. For example, the progress made in ameliorating environmental conditions in order to enable the great majority of old people to stay in their own homes has not been as great as is sometimes supposed. A study of home living conditions among the more elderly is, therefore, included here (Appendix III) because although the material was collected in 1948, the difficulties and needs which came to light in this survey appear to have altered little . . .

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