Older People in Law and Society by Jonathan Herring

By Jonathan Herring

It really is commonly claimed that we face a ’demographic time bomb’ with an expanding older inhabitants and a reducing operating inhabitants. regularly there are 3 conflicting attitudes in society in the direction of older humans. to begin with, there are those that see older humans as a ’problem’: how do we find the money for their care? Will the NHS be crippled by means of the cost of taking good care of older humans? Secondly, there are those people who are involved by way of the maltreatment of older humans: how will we guard older humans from abuse? How will we make certain they're receiving sufficient future health care? eventually, there are those that argue that society is squandering the assets that older humans can provide and search how one can empower them to play a extra energetic position in group existence. those conflicting perspectives of the way to process the ’problem’ of older individuals are additionally mirrored within the combined reaction of the legislation. This publication provides attainable options to those difficulties and highlights the necessity not just to guard older humans from abuse and poverty with the intention to make sure that they've got a dignified outdated age, but in addition the necessity to empower older humans to reside their ultimate years in an energetic and enjoyable approach.

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See the discussion in M Kapp, ‘Aging and Law’ in R Binstock and L George (eds), Handbook of Aging and the Social Sciences (Academic Press, 2006). ²³ J Vincent, Old Age (Routledge, 2003), ch 1. 4 Introduction mean that it is of no use to the law. ³⁶ In England, by comparison, although there are a few practitioner-orientated books,³⁷ there is very little that is written on the law from an academic perspective and the topic appears in few, if any, law courses. ³⁸ In the United States, practitioners specialize in elder law, which is, no doubt, a lucrative market to exploit.

R White and C Williams, ‘Volunteering’ (2005) 5 Age Today 10. ⁴⁶ Ibid. ⁴⁷ Help the Aged, Facts and Figures (Help the Aged, 2006). ⁴⁸ Mayor of London, Valuing Older People (Greater London Authority, 2006). ⁴⁹ J Macnicol, Age Discrimination (Cambridge University Press, 2006), at 12. ⁵⁰ HM Government, Opportunity Age (The Stationery Office, 2005), at iv. ⁵¹ HRH The Queen, The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast 2006, available on BBC News Online, 25 December 2006, ‘The Queen’s Speech in Full’. 18 Ageism and Age Discrimination levels of abuse suffered by older people as a result of ageism, there is a danger in painting a picture of older people as needy, which can itself perpetuate ageist attitudes about them.

D Moggach, These Foolish Things (Chatto and Windus, 2004). ⁶⁸ P Larkin, ‘The Old Fools’ in High Windows (Faber and Faber, 1974). ³ It has been defined in the following way: Ageism can be seen as a process of systematic stereotyping of and discrimination against people because they are old, just as racism and sexism accomplish this for skin colour and gender. Old people are categorized as senile, rigid in thought and manner, old-fashioned in morality and skills . . ⁵ This distinction, then, is between ageism, which is a feeling or belief, and age discrimination, which involves behaviour or treatment.

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