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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2008): Care of the elderly - overseas

Health services use by older people with disabilities in Spain: do formal and informal care matter?

J. Rogero-Garcia, M.-E. Prieto-Flores and M.W. Rosenberg

Ageing and Society, vol. 28, 2008, p. 959-978

The findings of this study suggest that in contemporary Spain, there is an interaction between the provision of informal care to older people with disabilities and their health service utilisation. Informal care provides not only personal care and social support but also health care, reducing demand for medical consultations. The relationship between informal care and medical consultations implies that family care relieves pressure on both the public social care and the public health care systems. Families, especially women, are making a substantial contribution to both types of care in maintaining the health and quality of life of older people in Spain.

The legislative and political contexts surrounding dementia care in India

B.R. Brijnath

Ageing and Society, vol. 28, 2008, p. 913-934

Currently there is no specific policy on dementia care in India. Rather, responsibility for the care of people with dementia is not clearly articulated and formal care services straddle mental health and aged care. The result is that much of the burden of care rests on individual families. This article critically reviews Indian legislative and policy documents dealing with this field, namely, the Mental Health Act 1987, the National Mental Health Programme, the National Policy on Older Persons and the Senior Citizen's Act 2007. The invisibility of dementia care in public policy translates into the absence of adequate treatment facilities and mental health staff, and leaves informal carers unsupported.

Seven 'deadly' assumptions: unravelling the implications of HIV/AIDS among grandmothers in South Africa and beyond

M. Chazan

Ageing and Society, vol. 28, 2008, p. 935-958

This paper has sought to challenge a series of assumptions around grandmothers and AIDS in South Africa and to elucidate some of the complexities inherent in older women's vulnerabilities. It begins by describing a group of grandmothers much affected by the epidemic who work as street traders in Durban. This study shows that certain prevailing 'wisdoms' about the impact of the epidemic and about African grandmotherhood are not all accurate and may mask the struggles of these women, perpetuate stereotypes and lead to misguided policies. It emerged that the societal impacts of AIDS are not as dramatic as frequently portrayed, because the negative consequences of the epidemic are being cushioned by the grandmothers who care for orphaned grandchildren. However, the effects on the grandmothers themselves are not being cushioned and they are becoming increasingly overstretched emotionally and physically. The paper calls for more nuanced and forward-looking interventions - ones that recognise grandmothers as central to society's safety net for AIDS orphans and that grapple with older women's complex and diverse vulnerabilities

Where will we live when we get older?

T. McLaughlin and A. Mills

Quality in Ageing, vol. 9, Sept. 2008, p. 15-21

The design of retirement accommodation is key to allowing older Australians to live independently. It is equally important that the accommodation is designed to facilitate ageing-in-place as needs change. There is little research in Australia on what retirement housing stock exists and how the stock has been adapted to address the needs of residents. This study examined the existing retirement housing stock of four different providers, to determine its capacity for meeting the needs of older people. Interviews revealed that retirement housing stock did not facilitate ageing-in-place. Most residents moved on from retirement accommodation once their physical capacity changed with age.

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