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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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Critique of Active Ageing Models

Critique of Active Ageing Models

(p.35) Three Critique of Active Ageing Models
Beyond Successful and Active Ageing

Virpi Timonen

Policy Press

Just as the successful ageing literature paints a picture of a successfully ageing individual and seeks to understand what constitutes such a person, active ageing language in the realm of policy construes the ‘model older citizen’ who behaves in ways that policy prescriptions want him or her to behave. There is a connection between scholarly conceptions of successful ageing and active ageing in the policy sphere because the requirements of active ageing rely upon assumptions and behaviours of successful ageing being widespread in the older population, and becoming more widespread over time. The disjuncture between successful ageing and active ageing arises from the fact that policy operates in the absence of any deeper understanding of health, social and economic outcome patterns in the population. Successful ageing is more widespread among some groups than others, first and foremost the higher socioeconomic status groups, who tend to have longer life expectancy, better health, better social connectivity and higher levels of volunteering. Yet the policy prescriptions for dealing with ‘the ageing challenge’ are issued in a blanket manner, concerning all older adults regardless of how long they can expect to live, or what their level of health, social and material capital is.

Keywords:   active ageing, socioeconomic status, life expectancy, social connectivity, volunteering, social capital

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