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Social class in later lifePower, identity and lifestyle$
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Marvin Formosa and Paul Higgs

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781447300588

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447300588.001.0001

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Social work, class and later life

Social work, class and later life

(p.149) Nine Social work, class and later life
Social class in later life

Trish Hafford-Letchfield

Policy Press

This chapter discusses expert practice and the provision of social work with older people in the UK, in the context of increasing complexity and uncertainty following wholesale structural change, neo-liberalism, and universal adoption of economic rationalism, managerialism and fiscal restraint. Notable retreat of government from provision and funding of care alongside promotion of individualisation have combined to reduce eligibility for services, with increasing evidence of widening inequalities and social exclusion. This chapter considers how social work has positioned itself in relation to the continuing significance of class within access to social care services by suggesting that the lack of structural analysis or critical exploration of social problems faced in later life has given rise to a preoccupation with increasing bureaucracy and helping people adjust to personal and social circumstances in a reductionist approach. A multi-layered approach is discussed using strategies such as advocacy, lobbying, coalition building, increasing social awareness and supporting social movements to increase community participation in the political processes, alongside strategies where social workers support individuals to make connections which acknowledge class, poverty and power differences in society.

Keywords:   social work, social class, social care, older people, personalized care

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