Older people and social policy: the issue of homecare in Rome (1991)

The question of the elderly has recently arisen in Italy for several reasons. The first, which is demographic, is common in economically advanced societies. If we look at the countries of Europe with the oldest industrialisation, we can see that the increase in average life expectancy follows an upward trend which in the middle of this century passed the 65-year barrier. In these countries, economic growth – with the transition from a productive society, based on the work ethic, to a consumer society based on a hedonistic ethic- is accompanied by a decrease in birth rates and an increase in the percentage of the upper age groups in the total population. This trend has introduced the problem of society ageing, bringing the issue of the elderly to the fore.  Until the mid-19th century, the social problems associated with old age were practically absent because lifetime coincided with working time. However, old age, intended as life beyond working age, emerged in the second half of the last century. In Italy, the increase in average life beyond the age of 65 started in the 1960s. The delay can be explained by industrialisation taking place across Italy after the Second World War, but not homogeneously. The inequality between areas of strong economic growth and depressed areas shows in the different ageing trends of the population and a differing pathological old age condition.


Chapter 1. The demographic trend


Chapter 2. Socio-economic status of the elderly population


Chapter 3. Rome 1951-1989: from the baby boom to the population ageing

3.1 The conditions of exclusion


Chapter 4. Some aspects of exclusion and the elderly’s self-perception


4.1 Registered age, social age, psychological age


Chapter 5. The Elderly and the Welfare System


Chapter 6. Different origins in the establishment of Co-operatives: Catholic Co-operatives and Lay Co-operatives

6.1 Nursing home assistance: aspects and problems of a non-programmed social service

6.2 Two-way discomfort: caregiver-assistant

6.3 The older person being assisted: illness as the shaping of a new role

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