Title

Aging and Social Policy: Contrasting Western Europe and the United States

Publication Date

1984

Journal

Journal of Family Issues

Volume

5

First Page

239

Last Page

253

Abstract

In this essay, three generic issues that underlie our implicit social policy toward older adults and their families are considered: What is the proper division of responsibility for impaired elderly between family members and the state? Is age a morally relevant variable when allocating the resources of society? What should be the balance of competing demands between and among different generations? These issues are considered by contrasting the implicit and explicit policies of the United States with those of several Western European nations (Sweden, West Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands). Suggestions for a family-centered policy on aging are offered. In addition, indications for the appropriate blend of age and need as entitlement criteria are presented.

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