Understanding Old Age: Critical and Global Perspectives

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Gail Wilson

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    Dedication

    To the memory of Rachel Richardson and James Richardson, my grandparents, Denise Shaw and Betty Beard.

    List of Figures and Tables

    • Figure 1.1 Projections for population over 65 (Greater Ageing Scenario) and per cent GDP spent on pensions: selected countries 10
    • Figure 3.1 Age pyramids for Bangladesh in 1974: actual and adjusted data 30
    • Figure 3.2a Population pyramid for Germany 1910 33
    • Figure 3.2b Population pyramid for Germany 1993 34
    • Figure 3.3 Age and marital status: Germany 1993 35
    • Figure 3.4 Total numbers of people over 60 in more developed and less developed countries of the world 2000–2035 (projections) 36
    • Figure 4.1 Countries in which more than half the potential voters will be over 50 by 2020 (projections) 48
    • Figure 4.2 Women over the age of 50 as a percentage of total voting-age population: selected countries 50
    • Table 7.1 Economically active population aged 55+ in 1990 (per cent) 88
    • Table 11.1 Estimated proportions of older people in some form of institutional care in different countries (c. 1990) 147

    Acknowledgements

    Many people have contributed to this book and first of all I would like to thank all those older men and women who gave their time in interviews and informal encounters over the last ten years, particularly in Brent and Barnet (London), Montaigu-de-Quercy (France), Reykjavik (Iceland) and the travelling Gujarati elders en route between India and the USA. In terms of content, the book would have been impossible to write without the outstanding collections in the British Library of Political and Economic Science, and my thanks go to Rupert Wood, Social Policy liaison representative, and all his colleagues who have been so consistently helpful.

    In Australia, more thanks to Joan Vipond and Graham Andrews for their hospitality and intellectual contributions, to Penny Hebbard and the bush walkers in Canberra for doing ageing differently, and to Michael Fine, Peter Saunders, Diane Gibson and colleagues at the Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Canberra.

    So many colleagues, relatives and friends have given support, made suggestions, taken part in discussions, found literature and processed data. To those who are not named my apologies and thanks. At the London School of Economics I owe many debts to current and former colleagues and students: Claire Collyer, Helen Cylwik, Tanvi Desai, Yasmin Gunaratnam, Sun Woo Hong, Kumiko Iwai, Junichi Izumi, Dagmar Lorenz-Meyer, Junko Otani, David Piachaud, Sally Sainsbury, Marion Williams and Jane Pugh who drew the figures. In other countries I would like to thank Yukiko Yukawa and Natsuko Masuda for inspiration over the years, Pierre Verry, Harikrishna Majmumdar and Premlata Majmumdar for wisdom on ageing, Matthias Haldorsson for hospitality and enlightenment and Lydia Potts and Angela Grotheer for being inspiring colleagues and wonderful hosts.

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