Many developed nations face the challenge of accommodating a growing, ageing population and creating appropriate forms of housing suitable for older people.
Written by an architect, this practice-led ethnography of retirement housing offers new perspectives on environmental gerontology. Through stories and visual vignettes, it presents a range of stakeholders involved in the design, construction, management and habitation of third-age housing in the UK, to highlight the importance of design decisions for the everyday lives of older people.
Drawing on unique and interdisciplinary research methods, its fresh approach shows researchers how well-designed retirement housing can enable older people to successfully age in place for longer, and challenges designers, developers and providers to evolve their design practices and products.
Retirement is being ‘reconstructed’, with the UK following the US path of abolishing mandatory retirement and increasing state pension ages. This timely book assesses prospects for work and retirement at age 65-plus in the UK and US.
Part 1 explores the shifting ‘policy logics’ in both countries that increase both the need and opportunities to work past age 65. Part 2 presents an original comparative statistical analysis on the wide range of factors influencing employment at this age. Part 3 proposes a series of policies across the life-course that would promote security and autonomy for older people.
Pathways to employment after 65 are complex and pressures to work at this age are likely to result in very unequal outcomes. This book is essential reading for researchers, students and practitioners interested in the late careers and the future of retirement.
We are all approaching retirement but what should we expect? For some, it is a happy prospect. Others approach retirement knowing they face hardship and social exclusion. Amid alarming predictions of a ‘demographic time bomb’, governments and the private pensions industry urge everyone to plan and save now, but admit that there are risks.
But will the pension funds deliver on their promises? Will the rich increasingly retire early but the poor work for longer? How reliable are state pension schemes? Do the USA, Sweden, or Australia have a ‘better’ approach to retirement pensions than the UK?
Approaching retirement tackles these and many other questions from a number of sociological perspectives. Using the idea of the social division of welfare as a template, different approaches to retirement pensions policy are assessed and their strengths and weaknesses clearly presented.
This book will be an invaluable resource for social science students at all levels and for those who teach them. Economists and pension practitioners will also find food for thought here.
Old age and retirement 167 NINE old age and retirement This chapter considers the final portion of the lifetime – old age – and considers the range of tax and benefit support for old age and retirement and death. The core of this chapter focuses on pension funding and outcomes, and this is a true reflection of how much the tax and benefit system is geared to retirement and old age. We follow the structure of the earlier chapters in this section and first look at the policy history before moving on to consider pension and retirement profiles for our model
Research anthology This book has presented a series of research stories reflecting the multivariate positions of actors engaged in the design, construction, management and habitation of retirement housing in the UK. It is an anthology of sorts, comprising stories that offer ethnographic ‘thick descriptions’ of stakeholders situated within their respective sites, settings and subcultures. The stories within Parts I, II and III of this volume could be separated into two alternative categories: (i) those relating to a production context – developer director
Introduction This chapter explores expectations about the transition to retirement for older women workers in Ireland in the context of policies introduced in recent years to extend working lives (EWL). It focuses on the retirement plans of workers in two very different occupations – teaching and home care work. Teaching is a well-paid and predominantly secure occupation in Ireland, with a generous occupational pension, while home care is physically demanding and often precarious, with relatively low pay and unfavourable conditions. The chapter first
217 The schlock and the new ELEVEN The schlock1 and the new: risk, reflexivity and retirement2 Kirk Mann Introduction This chapter explores questions of agency and social structure in relation to retirement and pensions policy. Some sociological accounts of risk, reflexivity, identity, ‘lifestyle’ and consumption are contrasted with structural features of contemporary capitalist societies; pension funds and their investment strategies, risk management, and the significance of these funds in the money markets.3 It will be claimed that there are tensions between
1 ONE Introduction: reconstructing retirement Introduction Increasingly, it is being claimed that we need to ‘rethink’ retirement. Ros Altmann, recently appointed UK Pensions Minister, has stated that: As people are living longer, we need to re-think what ‘retirement’ looks like. This is not about forcing people to work on, but supporting those who want to maintain a fuller working life.… Our concept of retirement and ageing in the workforce must move with the times as people’s lives and the population demographics change. (Altmann, 2015: 9) In the UK
21 TWO Changing retirement incomes Introduction As we discussed in Chapter One, although both the UK and the US are commonly designated as having liberal welfare states, their pension systems have differed considerably. US state pensions are modest by international standards but are dominated by the notion of being an earned entitlement that reflects previous wages and work effort. The safety net of means-tested benefits for older people on low incomes is correspondingly weak. In the UK, a more paternalistic attitude to retirement incomes has been dominant