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Why can't more people have a say? Learning to work with older people

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Rose Gilroy


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As part of a suite of policy documents on older people's issues, the 'New Labour' British government has published a joint housing and health strategy, Qualiy and Choice for Older Peoples Housing. In this they attempt to map out the problems facing older people. The strategy also suggests that among the solutions there should be more opportunities for older people to make choices and for their deeper involvement in housing matters. This paper sketches the background to this strategy and reviews the literature to determine whether there is a foundation of dialogue with older people on housing issues. While there have been increasing efforts to build socially inclusive processes, particularly in the major 'regeneration' programmes, it is still the case that older people are usually excluded. The core of the paper is a case study from the Better Government for Older People programme which explored the process by which older people worked alongside professionals to remodel a local authority dwelling. An analysis of the dialogue provides a window onto the self conceptions of professionals. Older people gained as individuals and as a group from the housing project, and were able to develop collective influence through a representation role. Learning by the local authority was more incremental. The paper ends with a discussion of the broader lessons for service providers.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gilroy R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Ageing and Society

Year: 2003

Volume: 23

Issue: 5

Pages: 659-674

ISSN (print): 0144-686X

ISSN (electronic): 1469-1779

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0144686X03001351


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