McDonald, T. A., 2018
Elder Abuse Conference, Sydney, Australia
Background: The results of opportunities and choices made across a lifespan accumulate to produce a story of disadvantage or advantage that determines contentment or otherwise in late age. The patterns of advantage or disadvantage experienced in early life can affect health, wellbeing and security. Therefore, it is crucial that this concept be understood and applied from an early age so that opportunities to be educated, healthy and socially competent occur throughout life. It is the extent to which these opportunities are taken up by individuals that determine their potential for accumulating advantage or disadvantage.
Methods: Policy effectiveness around supporting young people to avoid or overcome early life disadvantage needs to be addressed along with policy that prevents people in late age being bereft of resources and support due to circumstances beyond their control. Policy support for older people needs to recognise that they are disaggregated by their circumstances and therefore authoritative policy approaches could silence diverse voices. Early, active engagement by government with those most affected by any proposed policy would facilitate the level of innovation needed to overcome cumulative disadvantage.
Results and conclusions: For those experiencing cumulative disadvantage in later life, the issues are very real and can prevent them from perceiving opportunities or to understand how to access help and support. In order to build upon the principles and frameworks of human rights, policy strategies are needed to address lifespan issues so that accumulating disadvantage is identified and addressed early in life.
CITATION McDonald, T. (2018) Cumulative disadvantage in late age. 5th National Elder Abuse Conference Together Making Change. Sofitel Sydney Wentworth 19-20 February. Sydney