The elderly: A study of the planning implications of an ageing population

Scott, W. Douglas (1980) The elderly: A study of the planning implications of an ageing population. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This dissertation enquires into the implications for planning of an ageing population. The dissertation begins by making a study of the 'elderlys'' demographic and socio-economic position. The importance to planning of this study is then analysed. Finally, an examination is made of ways in which planning can be made more effective by being more responsive to the needs of the 'elderly'. The 'elderly' were found to be a difficult group to define. The only thing they have in common is their stage in the life cycle, as they vary in their physical and mental well being and in their socio-economic characteristics. The 'elderly', especially the 'very elderly' were found to be increasing in both absolute and relative terms. At the same time, due to demographic and social factors they were increasingly being alienated from 'the family' and society. An analysis based on objective social indicators of income, health, housing, mobility and education found the 'elderly' to be relatively deprived, particularly the vulnerable sub-groups of 'elderly', ie. 'elderly living alone, 'elderly' disabled 'elderly' living with other 'elderly' ; many of whom are very 'elderly'. On subjective indicators, the majority of 'elderly' expressed below average levels of felt need. However, these indicators were found to have weaknesses as applied to this group. Spatial concentrations of 'elderly' were found in the depressed regions, the 'inner city', remote rural areas and in seaside resorts. In all but the seaside resorts the 'elderly' were found to be more relatively deprived than the 'elderly' in general. In an examination of the 'elderlys'' income sources, they, especially those in the vulnerable category, were found to rely heavily on State income support. Because State income support was low many 'elderly' were in poverty and will remain in the future, as further increases in pension are limited by restraints on public expenditure. The earnings related pension scheme, which will be in full operation in 1998, may alleviate some of their problems. The 'elderly' were found to be politically weak in improving their income position. In an analysis of services specific to the 'elderly' in Housing, the Social Services and the Health Services, it was found that these services had increased over the years in line with increases in public expenditure. However, they were found to be limited by an institutional bias against the 'elderly', the traditional attitude seeing the problems of the 'elderly' in terms of infirmity rather than rehabilitation and poor planning mechanisms. This had lead to chronic shortages of accommodation for the 'elderly' and a limited provision of community services. Lack of finance caused by the public expenditure restraints means these shortages will continue. The implications for planning of this study of the 'elderly' were examined and its importance to the discipline was seen in social welfare and strategic terms. It was concluded that better forward planning of services to the 'elderly' would be important to planning in its policy planning role and in sharpening the planner's main instrument for tackling deprivation, the area based approach. This lead to an analysis of the effectiveness of forward planning initiatives of services to the 'elderly' at the national, regional and local levels. Two important findings made here were, the need for a policy to the 'elderly' to be built into a local authority's corporate strategy and the need for a community orientation to the policy, in order to identify and plan for the varied needs of the 'elderly'. Finally, the effectiveness of the area-based approach to deprivation was examined in meeting the needs of the 'elderly' using the case study of the Glasgow Eastern Area Renewal Project. In this area the 'elderly' were found to be concentrated in large numbers and were very deprived. The G.E.A.R. Project was found to be particularly limited in meeting the needs of its 'elderly' because of its administrative structure, which inhibited the Project in its social aims and because of its orientation towards capital expenditure which ignored the importance of revenue projects, for instance community care projects. It was concluded that even if the planning of services to the 'elderly' can be improved, the socio-economic position of the 'elderly' will be changed only marginally. This was because the social and economic conditions of the 'elderly' are deeply rooted in the prevailing social and economic structures and values. It can only be, by changing these that the 'elderlys'' societal position can be fundamentally changed.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Gerontology, Demography, Social research
Date of Award: 1980
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1980-72266
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 24 May 2019 15:12
Last Modified: 24 May 2019 15:12
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/72266

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