Social aspects of dependence and family care
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Ageing in Australia (and in other industrial societies) is seen by many as a problem because it is so often associated with dependency. Dependency, I would argue, is socially structured and created, and the social consequence of ageing is cumulative exclusion of a significant number of people from income, jobs, and meaningful roles in society. The dependencies associated with ageing are chronic rather than transitional - furthermore they are not legitimized as are the dependencies of the young, who are seen as the producers and consumers of tomorrow. Dependency is a difficult concept to see clearly and unambiguously. It means different things to different people - it has a specific meaning in demography - a very different meaning in the bio-medical world and again a different meaning in terms of social constructs.
Speech presented to the Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG), Newcastle, 13 February 1982 by Adam Graycar, Director, Social Welfare Research Centre, University of New South Wales. Made available under the Creative Commons BY 4.0 (CC BY) Attribution license. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/