Health Inequalities in Aging Populations: Canadian Contributions

Monday, 16 July 2018: 10:30-12:20
RC15 Sociology of Health (host committee)
RC11 Sociology of Aging

Language: English and French

The extension in high-income countries of systems of income support and access to health care for large, if not all segments of the elderly population undoubtedly counts as one of major successes of public policy over the past century (OECD 2013). It is perhaps not surprising then to note that today’s elderly find themselves in much better health than their parents and grandparents did in their older age (Crimmins et al., 2004). Indeed, relative to the past, older populations in developed countries have improved functioning and are afflicted with less disability on average (Wolf et al., 2005); however, these improvements may not have been equally gained across the elderly population(Taylor, 2008). Indeed, the body of literature regarding health inequalities among the elderly is growing, as the assumption that the older population is a rather homogeneous group in this regard is increasingly discarded (Grundy and Holt, 2001).

This notably raises the question of the current capacity of social policies to mitigate health inequalities among the elderly. As such, we propose here to review sociological theories that are most germane to health inequalities in older ages in developed countries, with an eye to their capacity to illuminate processes of social inequality driven by social policies. Then, we will critically examine the explicit intent and implicit capacity of current social policies to mitigate these inequalities among the elderly population. This invited session will focus on Canadian contributions in this area.

Session Organizers:
Amelie QUESNEL-VALLEE, McGill University, Canada and Anne MARTIN-MATTHEWS, Department of Sociology, The University of British Columbia, Canada
Amelie QUESNEL-VALLEE, McGill University, Canada and Anne MARTIN-MATTHEWS, The University of British Columbia, Canada
Oral Presentations
Welfare State Support in Aging Populations
Daniel BELAND, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
Caregivers and Health Inequalities in Aging Populations
Janice KEEFE, Department of Family Studies & Gerontology, Mount Saint Vincent University & Director, Nova Scotia Centre on Aging, Canada
Caregiving: Global Implications
Ito PENG, University of Toronto, Canada
Cumulative Advantage and Health Inequalities
Andrea WILLSON, University of Western Ontario, Canada