9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN01 Ageing in Europe

2009-09-05 13:30:00 2009-09-05 15:00:00 Saturday, 5 September 13:30 - 15:00 Inequality and Poverty in Ageing Societies Building II, C5.07

Advocacies for frail and incompetent elderly in Europe

In ageing societies, questions of participation of elderly people in social life and the possibilities of a self-determined life in old age are of high importance. Incompetent and frail people remain involved in many legal matters and participate in public and social life. Against the background of the demographic development, the requirements concerning advocacies for frail and incompetent elderly, who are in need of provisions to secure their legal protection and participation, increase. In addition to the demographic development, the family - traditionally the main institution with respect to the proxy of the elderly - more often adopts a background position in this context. Thus, the (welfare) state increasingly is confronted with the task of protecting personal rights of older and incompetent people. Societies have developed diverse institutions of advocacy for these people (e.g. guardianship). With the rising needs and requirements, institutions as well as the authorities themselves are under pressure to fulfil the growing demand. At the same time, they are forced to improve the use of alternative resources while simultaneously assuring the quality of the guardianship and advocacy. This scenario is largely the same all over Europe.
The project ADEL - Advocacies for frail and incompetent elderly in Europe - compares how different European (welfare) states secure legal protection and participation of frail and incompetent old people. Therefore, legal systems, organisational performance, and reform concepts in five countries are compared. The selection of the participating countries is led on the one hand by country-specific features concerning the demographic conditions and on the other hand keeping in mind Esping-Andersen?s classification of welfare regimes. From the German-speaking countries Austria and Germany are involved (corporatist type). Denmark participates as a representative of the Scandinavian countries (social democratic type) and Spain as a representative of southern European countries (family-oriented type). From the new member states from Central and Eastern Europe the Czech Republic (transitional type) is part of the project.
First results of the project will be presented in order to contribute to the question how an adequate system of advocacy for ageing societies should be designed.