Journal Article

The Age of Opportunity? Revisiting Assumptions about the Life-Long Learning Opportunities of Older People Using Social Care Services

Trish Hafford-Letchfield

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 40, issue 2, pages 496-512
Published in print March 2010 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online February 2009 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcp004
The Age of Opportunity? Revisiting Assumptions about the Life-Long Learning Opportunities of Older People Using Social Care Services

Show Summary Details

Preview

Shifting national policy in the UK emphasizes choice, independence and social inclusion for older people using social care services through the promotion of healthy, active lifestyles and increasing user involvement (Department of Health, 2006). Older people are a diverse population. Their definition of a ‘life worth living’ and support necessary to achieve this are cited as paramount within public policy formation. Simultaneously, older people coming into contact with social work are primarily conceptualized as ‘a challenge’ within the current social, economic and political environment, in which ageing is perceived as a time of difficulty and loss ultimately leading to increased structured dependency (Townsend, 2006). This paper makes links between discourses on life-long learning within public policy with those in social care. Both are concerned with increasing participation, citizenship and social justice for older people. It highlights contradictions between aspirations towards life-long learning derived from Freirean approaches seeking to promote ‘active ageing’ with negative political rhetoric about the burden of ageing and practice of managed care. Social workers play an important part in facilitating learning opportunities within their relationships with older people. Where and how these might be used to promote more inclusive strategies and approaches within practice for the engagement and further emancipation of service users is explored.

Keywords: Older people; lifelong learning; discourse; social care; active ageing; empowerment; participation

Journal Article.  6308 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.