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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2006): Care of the elderly - overseas

Age: a dubious criterion in legislation

J. Breda and D. Schoenmaekers

Aging and Society, vol.26, 2006, p.529-547

All European Union member states were required by the end of 2003 to have implemented two directives which, among other things, banned discrimination on grounds of age. This paper looks at the use of statutory age limits in Flemish community and regional legislation in the federal state of Belgium, focusing on age criteria for early retirement, eligibility for public transport fares concessions, and entitlements among those with disabilities. Evidence of age discrimination was found, although often in a form that benefits older people. The justification of the age criterion was often inadequate, and its adoption appeared to represent no more than convenient standard practice. The paper concludes that policy makers should consider the systematic replacement of age thresholds by other criteria.

Change in care regimes and female migration: the “care drain” in the Mediterranean

F. Bettio, A. Simonazzi and P. Villa

Journal of European Social Policy, vol.16, 2006, p.271-285

In Southern Europe, care of the elderly has traditionally been the responsibility of the family. However, a fall in fertility combined with increasing longevity has led to progressive and rapid population ageing, boosting demand for elder care. At the same time women are entering paid employment in greater numbers and households are becoming more mobile in order to improve work opportunities. These developments mean that the burden of care of the elderly can no longer be shouldered by the family. Female migrants are gradually replacing unpaid care by family members, and a new division of labour is emerging between the family, the market and the state.

The complementarity norm: service provision by the welfare state and voluntary organisations in Sweden

L. Dahlberg

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol.14, 2006, p.302-310

The aim of the present study was to explore complementarity between Swedish local authorities and voluntary organisations in their support for relatives of older people. Interviews were carried out with 55 politicians, civil servants and representatives of voluntary organisations drawn from four municipalities. Qualitative analysis of interview transcripts showed that, while local authorities are seen as responsible for the support of relatives, voluntary organisations are expected to offer less demanding activities such as social support.

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