Community care : the impact of current welfare policies and ideologies on older people in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire
This thesis investigates whether community care policy and service delivery is rhetoric or reality. The social policy and under-pinning ideologies that surround community care are reviewed. Important benchmarks are presented in the form of a chronology and aetiology of The National Health Service and Community Care Act, 1990. An interview schedule was designed from the perspective of older people and was used with a sample of 40 older people, 20 at Luton in an inner-city setting and 20 in Redbourn (Herts), a rural location. The qualitative research design allowed the respondents to express themselves with minimal interference from the researcher. The purpose of the in-depth interviews was to explore their lives including everyday experiences, the process of retirement, important Governmental influences and views of themselves. Their access to services was also considered. The data gave detailed descriptions of everyday life, including the concerns of economic and political influences. From the data the concept of 'Economic Fragility' was developed, this replaced Social Class as a variable. Similar patterns of experience emerged for some groups of respondents, these included connections with 'pervasive economics', gender and the semiotic of language. Further analysis highlighted conceptual connections at both a micro and macro theoretical level, the former focusing on life cycles and the latter revealing how political social control, in its present form, marginalises and manipulates certain groups of older people into becoming 'problem' populations. The relationship between the micro/macro concepts is of major significance to the programme in the identification of a predictable career path for the 'Economically Fragile'. This culminates in personal experiential journeys through the Social Incarceration Spiral. Further, some theoretical considerations are explored and some alternative policy proposals are made. Finally, this programme argues that Community Care as an ideology, current policy and service, as propounded by the current Government, is seriously flawed.