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Growing old disgracefully

In Britain, the system of funding long-term care for the elderly is arbitrary, unfair and unsustainable. Heavy means-testing and bureaucratic complexity are the culprits. So what kind of system do we want, and how will we pay for it?

By Donald Hirsch   June 2006

It is often said that you can tell a lot about a society by the way it looks after its very young and its very old. But as societies change, so do our approaches to the care and protection of those unable to look after themselves. Today in Britain, we are more confused about responsibilities to the old than to the young.

In the case of small children, we have had to rethink the respective roles of parents, caring professionals and the state in a world where most mothers work and one in four children live with only one parent.…

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