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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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The problem with Modelling Ageing

The problem with Modelling Ageing

(p.61) Four The problem with Modelling Ageing
Beyond Successful and Active Ageing

Virpi Timonen

Policy Press

This chapter argues that the term ‘model ageing’ encapsulates the drive towards reorienting and reconceptualising old age that is increasingly evident in international, supranational and national policy texts and rhetoric, and in academic literature. Model ageing is an integrative concept that throws light on the reasons for, and the consequences of, thinking about ageing populations within models of ‘how to age well/properly’. In order to examine the interface of these models and individual experience, the chapter employs the heuristic devices of ‘model’ and ‘antimodel’ older person – ‘model’ being aligned with active/successful ageing, and ‘anti-model’ deviating from the model behaviours and outcomes. ‘Model’ and ‘antithetical’ behaviours are examined within the three key realms where increasingly strong individual agency is expected from older adults: living independently, working longer, and being socially productive. In discussing these realms, examples of policy development are drawn from diverse contexts including mostly European welfare states (Denmark, Finland, Italy, and Poland) but also the United States and Australia. The chapter contests the premise that all older adults have equal access to and capacity for the model ageing behaviours. As a result, model ageing is becoming another engine of exacerbating inequality.

Keywords:   policy texts, agency, living independently, working longer, social productivity, european welfare states, united states, australia, inequality

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