The state and inequality in old age (shifting risks)
It seemed obvious to me that old age exacerbates inequities and the change in elder societal standing perpetuates that inequity. This results in the stagnating of policies on the books or the lack of relevant policies being presented. Further thinking and reading seems to be shifting my attitude. It has become evident to me that I am guilty of painting with a broad brush, when I should be considering many other factors. Emotionally I group elders in to one big group that (male or female) look like my mother and regardless of their situation need my assistance. Coming to realize this is personal growth in itself.
One research paper I read says that inequities are not so much due to social standing resulting in lack of access to resources but also are linked to things like, material conditions, psycho-social effects, and health-related behavior (Old age, health, and social inequality: Exploring the social patterns of mortality in 19th century northern Sweden, 2012). This study contradicts other research that links social standing to access or lack of. I disagree, however I found one point relevant. If you have other mental issues or engage in a risky life style then access to services is not necessarily the main problem. What I found in this research is that their test group was very localized and pertinent to a very specific group.
What if an elder living in a lower social class situation lives a very frugal life, keeps active and eats healthy? This person may or may not need services beyond their means, while an affluent elder may squander resources and live an unhealthy lifestyle. This elder may need to draw on resources later in life. While the inequities still exist whether resources are drawn upon or not, this situation could be viewed as equality if taken in a very small context.
It seems that once again this topic represents a microcosm of the basic inequities that exist in America today and have been present for years. Human inequities are often at the basis of social, political and economic problems.
Old age, health, and social inequality: Exploring the social patterns of mortality in 19th century northern Sweden. (2012). DEMOGRAPHIC RESEARCH, 633-660.
- Fixing Wealth Inequality (huffingtonpost.com)