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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2011): Care of the elderly - overseas

Aging, health and place in residential care facilities in Beijing, China

Y. Cheng and others

Social Science and Medicine, vol. 72, 2011, p. 365-372

Among major Chinese cities, Beijing has one of the largest and most rapidly ageing populations. Residential care as an alternative to traditional family care has developed rapidly in Beijing in recent years. Taking Beijing as the study area, this research explores how the environment of residential care facilities affects elderly people's everyday activities and well-being. The results show that most of the elderly residents are satisfied with their lives in residential care facilities. Each facility, as a place with a unique physical and social environment, has a significant influence on the elderly residents' physical and psychological well-being. Individual factors, such as characteristics of elderly residents, their attitudes to ageing and residential care, and family support, also play important roles in their adaptation after relocation from home.

Aging social policies: an international perspective

R. Wacker and K. Roberto

London: Sage, 2011

Because of population explosion and a global increase in average life expectancies, an unprecedented high percentage of the world's population is aging. This book considers how policy - domestic and international - affects and will continue to affect the lives of aging populations. It presents international comparisons on aging and the relationship between macro social policy and real people's lives and provides the foundation for understanding aging social policy. The connection between macro and micro is reinforced through descriptions of the varied ways in which different countries construct social policies and their direct effect on an older adult's quality of life. Each chapter concludes with an interview with an older adult, adding a depth of understanding and insight to the human concerns behind the social policies.

Diversification of old-age care services for older people: trade-offs between coverage, diversification and targeting in European countries

G. Sundstrom and others

Journal of Care Services Management, vol.5, 2011, p. 35-41

In most European countries official statistics are gathered on home care and institutional care for older people, but not on minor complementary services such as meals-on-wheels, transportation and alarm systems. In this study the authors used various data sources to compile statistics on most of these types of support in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany, England, Spain and Israel. When all types of support are considered, service coverage in these countries is approximately 50-100% higher than for the two main types alone. This paper aims to: map out the different mixes of major and minor services in these countries; assess how well needs are met under the different models of care; and explore the implications for the family and the state of long-term care.

Telecare and older people: who cares where?

C. Milligan, C. Roberts and M. Mort

Social Science and Medicine, vol. 72, 2011, p. 347-354

This research set out to draw attention to the ways in which governments across the developed world are turning to telecare as a potential solution to the projected rise in demand for care for frail elderly people. However, we have a poor understanding of how effectively telecare technologies are used within the home. This study demonstrates that some targeted users of telecare and their families may struggle to engage with the systems, and may experience them as intrusions or as providing less meaningful forms of care. The research also draws attention to the involvement of new actors in the care network, including telecare equipment providers and installers and monitoring centre operators. These new care relationships operate within the home and across both physical and virtual space. Telecare can be seen as contributing to increased porosity of boundaries, as external organisations invade the home through surveillance and monitoring equipment.

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