Old Age in English History: Past Experiences, Present Issues

Paperback | March 1, 2002

byPat Thane

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At the end of the twentieth century more people are living into their seventies, eighties, nineties, and beyond, a process expected to continue well into the next millennium, This life spancould only have been dreamed of in earlier centuries; now many can expect to survive to old age inreasonably good health and remain active and independent to the end, in contrast to the high death rate, ill health, and destitution which affected all generations in the past.Yes this change is generally greeted not with triumph but with alarm. It is assumed that the longer people live, the longer they are ill and dependent, thus burdening a shrinking younger generation with the cost of pensions and health care. It is also widely believed that 'the past' saw fewsurvivors into old age and thse could be supported by their families without involoving the tax payer.In this first survey of old age throughout English history, these assumptions are challenged. Vivid pictures are givenof the ways in which very large numbers of older people lived oftern vigorous and independent lives over many centuries. The book argues that old people have always been highlyvisible in English communities, and concludes that as people live longer, due to the benefits of the rise in living standards, far from being burdens they can be valuable contributors to their families and to society.

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At the end of the twentieth century more people are living into their seventies, eighties, nineties, and beyond, a process expected to continue well into the next millennium, This life spancould only have been dreamed of in earlier centuries; now many can expect to survive to old age inreasonably good health and remain active and indep...

Pat Thane is a Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Sussex.

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Old Age from Antiquity to Post-Modernity
Old Age from Antiquity to Post-Modernity

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The Foundations of the Welfare State
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Format:PaperbackDimensions:548 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.15 inPublished:March 1, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199250243

ISBN - 13:9780199250240

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Table of Contents

IntroductionOld Age in Pre-Modern England1. Did People in the Past Grow Old?Representations2. Representations of Old Age in Ancient Greece and Rome3. Medieval Images of Old Age4. Old Age in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth CenturiesExperiences5. Independent Old People: Making a Living in Medieval England6. The Aged Landless Poor: Work and Welfare in Medieval and Early Modern England7. Old People and their Families8. Lives of Expedients: Old People and the Old Poor LawInventing the Old-Age Pensioner9. The New Poor Law and the Aged Poor10. The Campaign for Old-Age Pensions11. The First Piece of Socialism Britain has Entered upon? - The Introduction of Old-Age Pensions12. Pensions for the Middle Classes: The Growth of Occupational PensionsLiving Longer in a Changing World: the 1830s to 1930s13. An Unfailing Zest for Life: Images and Self-Images of Older People in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries14. Work and Retirement: the 1830s to 1930s15. Kinship does not Stop at the Front Door: Old People and their Families, the 1830s to 1930s16. Pensions and Pensioners in War and Depression17. The Menace of an Ageing Population, the 1920s to 1950s'I Dont Feel Old': The Reinvention of Old Age in the Welfare State18. A Remarkable Discovery of Secret Need: Pensioners in the 1940s19. Pensions from Beveridge to the Millennium20. Shocked into Idleness: The Emergence of Mass Retirement21. The Family Lives of Old People22. Inventing Geriatric Medicine23. You're as old as you Feel: Images and Self-Images of Older People at the End of the MillenniumConclusion24. Into the Twenty-First Century: An Ageing Society - Burden or Benefit?BibliographyIndexIntroductionOld Age in Pre-Modern England1. Did People in the Past Grow Old?Representations2. Representations of Old Age in Ancient Greece and Rome3. Medieval Images of Old Age4. Old Age in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth CenturiesExperiences5. Independent Old People: Making a Living in Medieval England6. The Aged Landless Poor: Work and Welfare in Medieval and Early Modern England7. Old People and their Families8. Lives of Expedients: Old People and the Old Poor LawInventing the Old-Age Pensioner9. The New Poor Law and the Aged Poor10. The Campaign for Old-Age Pensions11. The First Piece of Socialism Britain has Entered upon? - The Introduction of Old-Age Pensions12. Pensions for the Middle Classes: The Growth of Occupational PensionsLiving Longer in a Changing World: the 1830s to 1930s13. An Unfailing Zest for Life: Images and Self-Images of Older People in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries14. Work and Retirement: the 1830s to 1930s15. Kinship does not Stop at the Front Door: Old People and their Families, the 1830s to 1930s16. Pensions and Pensioners in War and Depression17. The Menace of an Ageing Population, the 1920s to 1950s'I Dont Feel Old': The Reinvention of Old Age in the Welfare State18. A Remarkable Discovery of Secret Need: Pensioners in the 1940s19. Pensions from Beveridge to the Millennium20. Shocked into Idleness: The Emergence of Mass Retirement21. The Family Lives of Old People22. Inventing Geriatric Medicine23. You're as old as you Feel: Images and Self-Images of Older People at the End of the MillenniumConclusion24. Into the Twenty-First Century: An Ageing Society - Burden or Benefit?BibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`She [Thane] shows time and time again the dangers of comparing what she describes as an idealised past with a half understood present.'Social History Today