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Beyond Successful and Active AgeingA Theory of Model Ageing$
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Virpi Timonen

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781447330172

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447330172.001.0001

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Paradoxes and Puzzles in Ageing Societies

Paradoxes and Puzzles in Ageing Societies

(p.1) One Paradoxes and Puzzles in Ageing Societies
Beyond Successful and Active Ageing

Virpi Timonen

Policy Press

Chapter 1 draws out key paradoxes and puzzles in contemporary ageing-related discourses, with a view to identifying sensitising concepts that are important starting points in developing new theory. The central paradox of contemporary ageing societies is the paradox of turning the problem into the solution: reform proposals and exhortations for change are premised on the idea that ‘the problem’ (older people and the resultant ‘burden’) can and must also be ‘the solution’ (older people becoming more active and less dependent). ‘Turning the problem into the solution’ is the direction that more and more policy and practice towards older adults is taking as policy makers worry about ageing and turn to the resources of older adults (or, indeed, older adults themselves as a resource) in the hope that this will hold the ‘solution’ to the ‘problem’ of ageing. The chapter assembles some building blocks of a new theory of meso-level dynamics in ageing societies where particular sets of policy and marketing scripts are supposed to shape the lives of older people. The chapter introduced the idea that all economically developed countries with large older populations prescribe ‘model’ behaviours for older people, with the aim of alleviating the ‘burden’ of population ageing.

Keywords:   discourse, policy reform, ageing societies

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