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Dementia Policy in Australia and the ‘Social Construction’ of Infirm Old Age
Cecily Hunter and Colleen Doyle
Health and History
Vol. 16, No. 2 (2014), pp. 44-62
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5401/healthhist.16.2.0044
Page Count: 19
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Dementia, Government, Dementia care, Diseases, Funding, Older adults, Alzheimers disease, Age, Public health, Government reform
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Twenty years of Australian dementia policy brought a previously marginalised group of infirm old people into mainstream aged care. This happened in the context of the interpretation of dementia as a disease process. Dementia advocacy has grown, and perceived problems around state versus federal responsibility in the matter of dementia care, and the integration of health and welfare responses to illness, have been addressed. Advocacy movements have kept dementia in the minds of those in control of the political agenda, and advocates have presented dementia care as a problem of population health rather than aged care. However, the emphasis on dementia as disease tends to categorise those people with the condition as a residual group in terms of health policy. It undermines the possibilities dementia policy has created for fostering a new public understanding of life in infirm old age. For societies dominated by a view of old age as an active period of life such understanding is crucial.
Copyright 2014 Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine