Ageing and Old Age in European History

AGEING AND OLDAGE in HISTORY . WHAT HAS CHANGED ? Pat Thane Kings College, London. Themes 1.Did people live to old age in the past? 2.If so, did their families care for them more than today?

3. How is now different from then? 4.What can the contrast suggest for current policy? Did people in the past grow old? Estimated average numbers aged 60 and over: Ancient Rome: 6-8% Medieval Europe: 5-8% England 17th century: 6-8% France, Spain, England 18th century: 10%

Stages of Life Life expectancy at birth, UK Year of birth males females 1841 39

42 1871 44 49 1901 51

58 1941 69.6 75.4 1961 73.3

79.1 1991 76 80.8 2001 78

82 Panic about ageing population 1920s-1940s, falling birth-rates, rising life expectancy. Fear of ageing populations. 1950s-1970s, higher birth-rates, rising life expectancy. 1970s- 2001 falling birth-rates, rising life expectancy. Fear of ageing populations. 2001- rising birth rate. Thane The debate on the declining birth-rate in Britain: the menace of an ageing population, 1920s-50s Continuity

and Change 5, (2) 1990, 283-305. Beveridge Report, 1942 Concerned about ageing society Wanted to encourage delayed retirement Proposed flexible pension/retirement age. Higher pension for later retirement Not adopted after the war Bismarck ,first state pensions, 1880s, payable when unfit for work, not at fixed age.

Healthy Life Expectancy (HLE) Males At birth 1981 2006 At 65 1981 2006 Averages LE HLE Fem. LE HLE 71 64.4 77 61 77 68.5

81.5 64 13 10 17 12 17 13 20 14.5 Source: ONS 2010. Marmot 2010 Fair Society, Healthy Lives 20% retire before state pension age due to illhealth Life expectancy, Males

Tottenham: 71 years Kensington and Chelsea; 88 years. www.marmotreview.org. Older people and their families Older people in N.W Europe preferred independence for as long as possible. Families supportive but did not normally share households. Exchange of support between generations But, in past many older people had no surviving children

Or children might have migrated away Older people high proportion on poor relief Older people and families 2 More older people have surviving children in late 20th/early 21st century Welfare states have not displaced family support. Health Ill-health and death, and associated costs, increasingly compressed into later life

Ageing accounts for 1.5% annual increase in NHS costs. Techology, drugs, salaries more significant. Age discrimination in health care. Active Ageing: Live Longer and Prosper. Jennifer Gill & David Taylor UCL School of Pharmacy, 2012. Benefits of an ageing population 1 in 3 working mothers rely on grandparents child care 31% grandparents help grandchildren buy

a home + other financial help (WRVS 2011) Unpaid care for family and others 30% over 60s volunteer regularly 28% VSO volunteers over 50 2008. Benefits 2 More working past state pension age Over 65s net contribution to economy (tax, spending, charity, unpaid care) 40bn ?? (WRVS 2011)

OLD AGE IN 21 ST CENTURY

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