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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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Towards a Theory of Model Ageing

Towards a Theory of Model Ageing

(p.87) Five Towards a Theory of Model Ageing
Beyond Successful and Active Ageing

Virpi Timonen

Policy Press

This chapter puts forward the postulates of the model ageing theory. A range of actors have an interest in controlling or capitalising on ageing, and construct categorisations and recommendations pertaining to old age. These are attempts to ‘model’ ageing by pinpointing problematic aspects of ageing and specifying putative solutions. Attempts to model ageing are rooted in concern about the costs of ageing populations, and aim at controlling the costs, or turning them into benefits/profit. The ‘solutions’ to population ageing are being increasingly drawn from ‘the problem’ by singling out ways in which older adults can be made to absorb the costs of ageing. The proposed ‘solutions’ to the ‘problem’ of population ageing are progressively less collectivist, and increasingly individualistic. Model ageing has deleterious consequences because it has not been calibrated to the differential capacities of population groups: it expects those with the least resources to change and adapt the most. Older adults with good resources are already adhering to model ageing without any need for additional incentives because model ageing is in accordance with their capacities and choices. Model ageing tendencies will keep growing, with increasing exhortations on older adults to adapt their behaviours. This will have negative consequences for disadvantaged older populations.

Keywords:   model ageing theory, postulates, costs of ageing, collectivist, individualistic, capacities, resources, incentives, choices, disadvantage

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