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ERIC Number: ED161805
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Sep
Pages: 15
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Some Latent Effects of Current Social Policies on the Elderly.
Valas, Lee
Current social policies for the elderly are intended to assure a better standard of living, promote adequate medical treatment, and assure safe and clean housing, but they have unintended consequences. It is argued that these social policies serve to keep older people in a state of dependency, poverty, and segregation. Some social policies may be based on two assumptions: (1) disengagement theory, which provides a supposedly healthy adjustment to change in the life cycle by stressing decreased social roles of the elderly, and (2) activity theory, which limits the activity and engagement of the elderly in their social roles. Three federal programs for the elderly are cited and illustrate the manifest or intended functions and the latent or unintended functions of social policy. The Social Security Benefits Program is intended to help elderly citizens meet their basic needs. Yet the retired worker with an income of $100,000 from investments can receive the full benefits from the program, while a worker who hasn't accumulated the necessary savings to assure an adequate income after retirement may be penalized for working. Medicare and Medicaid programs have the intent of independence without the burden of high medical costs. Yet the policies encourage dependency and assist the nursing home industry. The federal housing programs have discouraged exploration of other housing alternatiVes to single-home residences. The author concludes that more attention should be paid to the latent consequences of programs for the elderly. (Author/MR)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Medicaid; Medicare; Social Security Benefits
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (San Francisco, California, September 4-8, 1978)