The Making of Ageing Policy
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The Making of Ageing Policy

Theory and Practice in Europe

Edited by Rune Ervik and Tord Skogedal Lindén

Demographic changes transform societies and challenge existing institutional solutions and policies. The need for policies addressing these challenges has increasingly been put on the agenda. The Making of Ageing Policy analyzes these innovative policy ideas and practices at both the international and the national level.
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Chapter 3: Ageing policy ideas in the field of health and long-term care. Comparing the EU, the OECD and the WHO

Nanna Kildal and Even Nilssen


Several international organizations are currently concerned with ageing policies, focusing on various political areas such as work, poverty, pensions, health and long-term care. In recent years, ways to increase quality as well as extend lifespans have become part of the health and social agendas of many nations and have been conceptualized as ‘successful’, ‘active’, ‘productive’ and ‘positive’ ageing; see Chapters 1 and 2. For older people in particular, there is a health-related dimension of quality of life, and the term ‘healthy ageing’ has been introduced to encapsulate this dimension (Peel et al. 2004). The concepts of ‘productive ageing’ and ‘the burden of ageing’ (Walker 2009, p. 79) dominated global discourse during the 1980s and 1990s. Over the past decade, a new paradigm of ageing policy has been flagged under the heading of ‘active ageing’. Generally, ‘active ageing’ could be seen as a reaction to the concept of ‘productive ageing’, emphasizing a broader perspective on activities rather than on productivity. Alternatively, the two discourses may be seen in terms of internal tension between contrasting versions of the active ageing paradigm, as discussed in Chapter 1.

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