Ageing with physical disabilities and/or long-term health conditions
This chapter considers issues of inequality in relation to people who are growing older with pre-existing physical disabilities and/or physical or mental health related long-term conditions, drawing upon Nancy Fraser’s model of social justice, comprising resource distribution, recognition and representation. While there is extensive literature on people who are ageing into disability and/or chronic illness, far less attention has so far been given to people who are ageing with disabilities and/or physical or mental health related long-term conditions (LTCs). Yet the latter is a growing population, due to medical and technological advances. Moreover, they are more likely to experience a range of inequalities as they age. In terms of resources, they are more likely to be materially disadvantaged due to reduced employment opportunities and/or needing to retire early do to worsening condition(s). They are also more likely to be disadvantaged in relation to care, with informal carers less able to provide care as they themselves age, and formal care provision unable to deal with the complexities of both disabilities/LTCs and issues of ageing. This overlaps with issues of recognition: disability and LTC service providers may not recognise and so not meet the needs of older people; while ageing service providers may not recognise and meet the needs of people who are ageing with disabilities/LTCs. Moreover, individuals ageing with disabilities/LTCs are inherently excluded by notions of successful/active ageing, which are predicated upon an absence of disease or disability. They are also under-represented in research and in ageing activism, and are social marginalised at the intersection of both ageing and having a disability/LTC.