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2015 | 2(10)/2015 Social Policy and Models of Services for the Elderly International Perspective | 41-52

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Social policy on ageing in select asian countries

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Most Asian countries have experienced rapid socioeconomic changes along with the demographic and epidemiological transition which has necessitated policies on ageing. Th e policies and programs initiated in many of the Asian countries are similar in their response to address the challenges of ageing, yet they vary in terms of care and service provisions. Th ere is an attempt to strengthen and sustain family and community networks, social security measures, health care facilities, and enhance opportunities for older people. Many countries have shown political will and adopted legislative mechanisms to meet the needs of growing number of older people as well of the adult population caring for parents. Th ere is greater emphasis in policy response to provide for adequate quality and quantity of health, economic and social care. Governments have adopted a development approach as well as a welfare orientation to address the needs of their ageing population based on Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing guidelines. But some of the Asian countries, depending on the proportion and absolute numbers of their ageing population, have developed comprehensive plans for policy and action with a long term view to improve the quality of life of the growing and emergent groups of older people, while some other countries are still struggling with their resources to respond to their young and ageing population simultaneously. In this paper I refl ect, based on analysis of literature, reports and documents review, on the social policy initiatives on ageing of select Asian countries, namely China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Th ailand, and emphasise that countries have an opportunity to learn from each other. Th e extant policies, practices and models of services and programmes developed by some of the countries can serve as models for others to adopt, given their own resources and political will. How countries respond will of course depend on their demographic and epidemiological transition.


  • Ph.D, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Maitreyi College, University of Delhi (South Campus), India; Chair for Asia, International Network for Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA). Address for communication: T 8 – 601, Avenue 71, Sector 71, Gurgaon 122001, Haryana, India


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