Debates on policy concerning medical care and social welfare of the elderly become ever more pressing, and many of the assumptions on which they are based are now open to question. This study sets out to provide a historical perspective on the economic, medical, class and gender relations of the elderly, which until now have received relatively little attention. In particular, the position of the elderly is linked to the fundamental issues of health, disability and medical care. With attention currently focused on the setting of the retirement age, community and family care, and pensions, as well as wider debates on the rights of the elderly, this volume aims to supply a historical context for such issues.
`Contemporary social and welfare issues on ageing and the elderly are focused on care in the community, pensions, and retirement age; issues which this book shows have been in existence throughout history, and for which the book provides a useful historical context.' – Health Policy and Planning
`An invaluable critical survey of historical writing on definitions of old age since ancient times, on the health of the elderly and its treatment, on their family and household relationships, the limited role of institutions, work and retirement.' – Medical History
`Every essay challenges to a greater or lesser extent today's received collective wisdom.' – Population Studies
`The research has been of the highest quality and the writings are voluminous and widely accessible.' – Journal of Historical Geography
`This volume is at the same time a sample of the most sophisticated approaches to this field of research and an important contribution to present-day debates, for it shows how many of the assumptions about the past used to support contemporary views are misconceptions.' – Labour History Review