Handbook of the Psychology of Aging


SOCIETAL INTERVENTIONS TO



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SOCIETAL INTERVENTIONS TO

REDUCE POVERTY IN TARGETED
POPULATIONS
Until fairly recently reaching advanced ages was limited to the socioeconomically favored and powerful in society (e.g., Achenbaum, 1993 ). But as life expectancy has increased for larger segments of the population, poverty has often characterized advanced old age ( Haber, 1993
). Therefore, beginning in the late nineteenth century, most industrial nations began to implement public retirement and pension systems to provide some income security for that period of life when increasing frailty, chronic disease, and disabilities ended participation in the world of work for most individuals Gratton, 1993; Hayward, 2005; Plakans, 1989; Ransom et al., 1993 ; Vinovkis, 1989, b. Most of the public plans providing reliable financial support for older persons are based on some understanding of an intergenerational contract that assumes that succeeding generations will provide for the old age of those who preceded them ( Street & Quadagno, 1993 ).
Other interventions that have targeted earlier life stages and specific geographic areas have also had indirect effects on leading to the targeted cohorts reaching old age in better health, with fewer disabilities, and greater educational and financial resources. Such programs have included President Lyndon Johnson ’ s attempts to reducing Appalachian poverty,




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