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Social exclusion of elderly in Central and Eastern Europe

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Purpose ‐ Ageing of population means for society facing new challenges and one of the main challenges is how to ensure quality of life of elderly and prevent their exclusion from the society. This position of elderly is intrinsically linked to the welfare system and policies that are applied to prevent and tackle social exclusion of vulnerable individuals and groups. The focus is on Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, which are in research often piled in the same group. However, in the article the authors wish to also focus on differences between them. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Social exclusion as a concept for observing vulnerability of elderly enables observation of vulnerabilities in various areas/dimensions at the same time, and also enables comparison of particular populations with other groups and enables determining their position within the society. In this article the authors observe social exclusion of the elderly in several areas: health and access to health care, poverty and material deprivation, housing and local environment and interpersonal relations. Comparative analysis of CEE countries is based on data from European quality of life survey (2007). Findings ‐ The analysis has showed that elderly in CEE are significantly more excluded than the rest of the population, and the most problematic areas were material deprivation, health and interpersonal exclusion. Furthermore, the exclusion of the elderly in CEE is significantly higher than in other European countries, further characterized by a much higher difference in the level of the exclusion of the elderly than the population in general, as compared to the other European countries. This indicates that the so-called post-socialist welfare states do not promote inclusion of the elderly to a satisfactory degree. Originality/value ‐ Due to a lack of comparative analyses of social policy issues in CEE countries the originality and value of the article is a comparative analysis of social exclusion of the elderly in the CEE countries in comparison to the development of welfare systems in these countries.
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Keywords: Ageing; Social policy; Social welfare

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 20, 2013

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