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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2009): Care of the elderly - overseas

Impact of the elder abuse prevention and caregiver support law on system development among municipal governments in Japan

M. Nakanishi and others

Health Policy, vol. 90, 2009, p. 254-261

Japan enacted the elder abuse prevention and caregiver support law in 2006. The law emphasises the roles and responsibilities of municipalities for creating structures and environments that support the prevention of elder abuse in the community, as well as receiving and investigating reports of elder abuse and ensuring the safety of victims. The elder abuse law lacks financial support and progress with system development has varied across municipalities. This study aimed to investigate progress across municipal governments with implementing the requirements of the law. Data were gathered through a questionnaire sent to all municipalities in December 2006. Results showed that the law stimulated activities connected to establishing reporting systems for elder abuse and raising awareness among service providers. However municipalities frequently had no plans for establishing intervention teams and multi-agency networks. All reported difficulties with carrying out home visits to investigate reports of abuse and approaching families where there was resistance to outside support.

Negotiating candidacy: ethnic minority seniors' access to care

S. Koehn

Ageing and Society, vol. 29, 2009, p. 585-608

The Barriers to Access to Care for Ethnic Minority Seniors (BACEMS) study in Vancouver, BC used the newly developed framework of 'candidacy' to explore the issue. Candidacy is defined as the ways in which people's eligibility for medical attention is jointly negotiated between individuals and health services. Accomplishing access to healthcare requires considerable effort on the part of users, and the amount, difficulty and complexity of that work may operate as barriers to access to care. The study found that immigrant families were often unable to provide optimal care for their elders due to changing values and economic pressures. Ethnic minority elders also identified language barriers, immigration status and limited awareness of the role of the health authority and specific service providers as barriers to healthcare. The configuration and delivery of health services and providers' limited knowledge of ethnic minority elders' needs compounded the problem.

The welfare of Sweden's old-age pensioners in times of bust and boom from 1990

B. Gustafsson, M. Johansson and E. Palmer

Ageing and Society, vol. 29, 2009, p. 539-561

This study analyses changes in the economic wellbeing of Sweden's retired population from 1990. This period was characterised by a profound economic recession, followed by a period of buoyant growth. Between 1991 and 1998, during the recession, pensions were cut and their full price indexation abandoned. In spite of these measures, pensioners fared better than the working age population, but poverty among older Swedes increased in absolute terms. During the following years of rapid economic growth, pensioners' incomes rose more slowly than those of workers, and their relative poverty increased. Income inequality among older Swedes also increased due to the growing importance of capital income for the better-off.

Social policy in aging societies: Britain and Germany compared

A. Walker and G. Naegele (editors)

Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009

This book provides a comparative analysis of ageing and social policy in Germany and the UK, two leading and archetypal European welfare states. Each chapter provides an analysis of the current situation in each country, with some historical background, but focuses primarily on the major policy directions in each field and their future prospects. The book covers all of the main policy areas affecting older people, including pensions, employment, consumption, ethnicity, gender, health, social care, generational relations and social participation.

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