Theory and Practice in Europe
Edited by Rune Ervik and Tord Skogedal Lindén
Chapter 9: Ageing and long-term care in Poland and Italy: a comparative analysis
Poland and Italy, like most European societies, are facing crucial demographic changes because of reduced fertility rates and increased longevity, the main drivers of the rapid population ageing currently taking place in both countries. In this respect, one concept that most comprehensively describes a wide range of the consequences of this phenomenon is ‘active ageing’. This is a multidimensional notion that is often used in many policy domains to approach the ageing issue in a respectful and non-coercive way; for instance, in relation to the labour market, pension system, social engagement or long-term care (LTC). In LTC, the concept of active ageing is based on the idea that a person should aim to be independent and able to perform daily activities for as long as possible. This effort should be supported by the welfare state, with an LTC policy that is planned and organized to cater for the needs of an increasing number of older people. This holistic and rather recent approach, however, is still far from widely adopted across Europe (Walker and Maltby 2012). In many European countries, the concept of active ageing is indeed understood and implemented in a rather narrow ‘productivist’ manner that focuses only on maintaining the ability of an older person to work (ActiveAge 2005).
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