How do we treat our frail elderly? Insights on the Portuguese case
Department of Sociology University of Porto Portugal, http://www.letras.up.pt
The paper will introduce the main features of the social policy instruments available in Portugal to tackle the needs of the elderly, particularly those that have special needs and are dependent on others for their daily activities. The focus will go to the more recent trends in social policy design and it will show the reproduction of a marked familialist approach in the choices that have been made on that matter. Furthermore, the paper will discuss the implications of the current policy framework, both for the elderly and for their families, highlighting how it is gender averse and how it leaves the elderly unprotected. Data will be presented and discussed to depict the main traits of the living conditions of the Portuguese elderly. The paper will end by debating the «false kindness» behind the concept of familialism and how it can be appropriated by policy makers to justify the absence of comprehensive responses in terms of welfare provision in old age. All the analyis will include some comparative insights, taking as comparisons the european space and the South European countries in particular.