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Critical and international approaches

Populations around the globe are ageing rapidly. This demographic shift affects families, market structures and social provisions. This timely volume, part of the Ageing and the Lifecourse series, argues that the lifecourse perspective helps us understand the causes and effects of population ageing. The lifecourse perspective suggests that individuals’ experiences at an early age can influence their decisions and behaviour at a later age. This much-needed volume combines insights from different disciplines and real-life experiences to describe the theories and practices behind this idea. It therefore caters to the needs of scholars, practitioners and policy makers in a range of areas including sociology and political science.

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Due to population ageing, old age policies have gained increasing attention over the last few decades. For example, many countries reformed their pension systems and their long-term care regulations to counter the increasing number of frail older people. However, researchers underline that policies dealing with population ageing cannot focus on older people alone. Instead, they need to account for life-course effects and, therefore, tackle the situation of individuals of all ages. This chapter discusses how policy-makers can utilize life-course effects in old age policies. It explains the potential and the pitfalls of such a step, using Canada as an example. Canada is trying to prepare for population ageing through e.g. by promoting ‘Active Ageing’ and ‘Age-Friendly Communities’, which this chapter describes.

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The final chapter summarizes the findings of this book, discusses them, and draws conclusions. It thereby refines the initial explanation how the life-course perspective enhances our knowledge about population ageing, which was presented in the introduction. In particular, this chapter elaborates on the role of social inequalities and on practical implications emerging from this perspective. Additionally, this chapter reflects on country-differences in the findings, and on the role of historical events such as the current economic crisis.

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Populations around the globe age. For Western countries, this demographic shift is one of the biggest current challenges, challenging individual life plans, family arrangements, market structures, care provisions, and the financial basis of pension schemes. This volume uses the life-course perspective to investigate causes and effects of population ageing. The life-course perspective suggests that individuals’ experiences at an early age can influence decisions and behaviour at a later age. Similarly, historical events such as World War II or the current economic crisis can alter current and future live choices of the individuals who lived through these events. Thus, the foundation for population ageing has already been laid in the past, and the effects of today’s intervention into population ageing will only be visible years or even decades in the future. This volume explains how insight from demography and life-course research can be merged to gain a better understanding of population ageing. It then applies a critical perspective to illustrate social inequalities in life-course effects. Finally, it discusses the practical implications on these insights, e.g. on families, the labour market, and on policy-making. To exemplify the discussions, the book includes examples from across Europe, Australia, China, and Northern America.

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Populations around the globe age. For Western countries, this demographic shift is one of the biggest current challenges, challenging individual life plans, family arrangements, market structures, care provisions, and the financial basis of pension schemes. This volume uses the life-course perspective to investigate causes and effects of population ageing. The life-course perspective suggests that individuals’ experiences at an early age can influence decisions and behaviour at a later age. Similarly, historical events such as World War II or the current economic crisis can alter current and future live choices of the individuals who lived through these events. Thus, the foundation for population ageing has already been laid in the past, and the effects of today’s intervention into population ageing will only be visible years or even decades in the future. This volume explains how insight from demography and life-course research can be merged to gain a better understanding of population ageing. It then applies a critical perspective to illustrate social inequalities in life-course effects. Finally, it discusses the practical implications on these insights, e.g. on families, the labour market, and on policy-making. To exemplify the discussions, the book includes examples from across Europe, Australia, China, and Northern America.

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Populations around the globe age. For Western countries, this demographic shift is one of the biggest current challenges, challenging individual life plans, family arrangements, market structures, care provisions, and the financial basis of pension schemes. This volume uses the life-course perspective to investigate causes and effects of population ageing. The life-course perspective suggests that individuals’ experiences at an early age can influence decisions and behaviour at a later age. Similarly, historical events such as World War II or the current economic crisis can alter current and future live choices of the individuals who lived through these events. Thus, the foundation for population ageing has already been laid in the past, and the effects of today’s intervention into population ageing will only be visible years or even decades in the future. This volume explains how insight from demography and life-course research can be merged to gain a better understanding of population ageing. It then applies a critical perspective to illustrate social inequalities in life-course effects. Finally, it discusses the practical implications on these insights, e.g. on families, the labour market, and on policy-making. To exemplify the discussions, the book includes examples from across Europe, Australia, China, and Northern America.

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Populations around the globe age. For Western countries, this demographic shift is one of the biggest current challenges, challenging individual life plans, family arrangements, market structures, care provisions, and the financial basis of pension schemes. This volume uses the life-course perspective to investigate causes and effects of population ageing. The life-course perspective suggests that individuals’ experiences at an early age can influence decisions and behaviour at a later age. Similarly, historical events such as World War II or the current economic crisis can alter current and future live choices of the individuals who lived through these events. Thus, the foundation for population ageing has already been laid in the past, and the effects of today’s intervention into population ageing will only be visible years or even decades in the future. This volume explains how insight from demography and life-course research can be merged to gain a better understanding of population ageing. It then applies a critical perspective to illustrate social inequalities in life-course effects. Finally, it discusses the practical implications on these insights, e.g. on families, the labour market, and on policy-making. To exemplify the discussions, the book includes examples from across Europe, Australia, China, and Northern America.

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This chapter introduces the rationale of the book. It explains the idea of the life-course perspective, and it discusses the added insight on population ageing that this perspective provides. Additionally, this chapter gives an overview of the remainder of the book.

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