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9 - Conclusion

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 April 2023

Ann Leahy
Affiliation:
Maynooth University, Ireland
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Summary

Introduction

This book, framed within a critical gerontological perspective, has aimed to contribute to elucidating experiences of disability in older age, drawing on an inductive empirical study. This chapter summarises key issues and empirical findings, and suggests some future directions for scholarship and public policies. At the outset, the book outlined a series of paradoxes inherent in the attempt to engage with the issue of disability and ageing, and, indeed, paradox and inversion were themes that the book engaged with at many points.

Chief among these is the fact that social science approaches to ageing are dominated by issues to do with older age lived without impairment. Despite how anticipated economic costs of health and social care dominate responses to population ageing, relatively little is known about subjective experiences of the people most concerned – older people experiencing disability or chronic illness (or people who might be considered to be in the so-called ‘fourth age’). While there are many studies on impairment in later life, they are often limited to medical or functionalist perspectives. Paradox is also inherent in the fact that older people experiencing impairment are rarely considered ‘disabled’, as well as in siloed approaches to ageing and disability in theorising, activism and policymaking.

Part I contextualised the book and the empirical findings that inform it. Chapter 2 showed that fundamentally different ideas about what disability is inform different fields. This represents a barrier to more conversations that cross existing boundaries in scholarship and in other areas. The chapter suggested that if understood more widely as an explanatory framework for disability in older age, interactional or biopsychosocial approaches to definition could facilitate an understanding of disability as more than a personal problem (discussed again later).

The review of the academic literature from different fields (see Chapter 3) confirmed the point made in the book's introduction that there is little theorising that addresses ageing and disability together. Critical approaches in both fields use similar approaches but intersect only to a limited degree. It also confirmed the need for more empirical engagement with subjective experiences of disability in older age.

The policy review in Chapter 4 discussed the separation of policy frameworks on disability and ageing, which means that societies differ in how they respond to ‘disability’ experienced at different points of the lifespan.

Type
Chapter
Information
Disability and Ageing
Towards a Critical Perspective
, pp. 163 - 176
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • Conclusion
  • Ann Leahy, Maynooth University, Ireland
  • Book: Disability and Ageing
  • Online publication: 16 April 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.46692/9781447357186.010
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  • Conclusion
  • Ann Leahy, Maynooth University, Ireland
  • Book: Disability and Ageing
  • Online publication: 16 April 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.46692/9781447357186.010
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Conclusion
  • Ann Leahy, Maynooth University, Ireland
  • Book: Disability and Ageing
  • Online publication: 16 April 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.46692/9781447357186.010
Available formats
×