Much previous research on elderly people had focused on their problems, and had created an impression of a group of isolated individuals suffering from almost insurmountable social difficulties. Originally published in 1984, this study of the everyday lives of elderly people, and the sources of help and care available to them in the community at the time, made a special contribution by showing how they can and do make creative adaptations to the challenge of age, and by increasing our understanding of their informal networks of support.
The author looks not only at the role and availability of family, but also of friends, neighbours, voluntary associations and statutory services and the composite networks of support which these contacts form, noting differences related to gender, class and household composition. The detailed picture that she presents would be invaluable to those teachers, students and practitioners of social work concerned with the development of more community-based patterns of social work, as recommended by the Barclay Report, and to policy makers who needed to understand how sometimes strained natural support systems may be reinforced and maintained. The book also extends our knowledge of the normal lives of elderly people and will be of general interest to social gerontologists and network theorists in sociology and anthropology.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements. Part 1: Background 1. The Research Context 2. The Social Context of Care Part 2: Access 3. Mobility and Communications Systems 4. Access to Basic Goods and Services Part 3: Social Environment 5. Family. Friends and Neighbours 6. Voluntary Association and Spare-Time Activities Part 4: Support 7. Help and Helpers 8. Support Networks, Isolation, Loneliness and Morale 9. Elderly People Coping 10. Independence versus Dependence 11. Policy Implications. Appendix 1 – University College of North Wales, Bangor, Elderly in the Community: Questionnaire. Appendix 2 – Philadelphia Geriatric Center Morale Scale. References. Index.
G. Clare Wenger