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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2010): Care of the elderly - overseas

Citizenship and structural dependency: the implications of policy design for senior political power

G.M. Carney

Ageing and Society, vol. 30, 2010, p. 229-251

The US policy of universal benefits in old age through Social Security and Medicare contribute not only to improving the welfare and independence of seniors, but also to producing a cohesive and mobilised interest group, often referred to as 'senior power'. American seniors are an advantaged group and policies reflect both their positive social construction and high levels of political influence. In contrast, in the UK and Europe older people are invisible and silent in politics and policy making. This paper investigates why American seniors are perceived as politically powerful, while older people in Europe are viewed as dependent and politically weak.

State care provision, societal opinion and children's care of older parents in 11 European countries

K. Haberkern and M. Szydlik

Ageing and Society, vol. 30, 2010, p. 299-323

This paper reports an analysis of variations in intergenerational care among European countries and the reasons for these differences using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe for Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Results from logistic multilevel models show that care by children is influenced by the individual characteristics of both parents and children, and by family structures, welfare state institutions, and cultural norms. Intergenerational care is more prevalent in southern and central European countries, where children are legally obligated to support parents in need, and care is perceived as the responsibility of the family, whereas in northern Europe the wider availability of formal care services enables adult children to have more choice about their activities and use of time.

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