The lifelong learning of older people using social care services: rhetoric and realities

Hafford-Letchfield, Trish ORCID logoORCID: (2010) The lifelong learning of older people using social care services: rhetoric and realities. Other thesis, The Open University. [Thesis]

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A plethora of government policies impacting on older people in the UK assert a paradigmatic shift towards their engagement with public services. User involvement is integral to increasing personalisation of care services where older people are expected to direct their own care through individualised budgets through a transformational environment. Disciplines within lifelong learning, particularly educational gerontology, has given rise to debates about the purpose and meaning of learning in later life. There is however, relative under-theorisation and a lack of empirical research into the lifelong learning needs, opportunities and experiences of those older people using social care services particularly in relation to the skills and knowledge they might need to capitalise on, to achieve more person-centred support. Convergence of the lifelong learning agenda with social policy and social care therefore has potential through increasing interrelated and overlapping activity in policy and practice. Drawing on Habermas’s two paradigms of strategy-orientated and individual-orientated analysis embedded in his theory of communicative action, this study explored both structural constraints and tensions arising from policy imperatives in relation to the day-to-day realities of older people using social care. Documentary analysis of four key policies and in-depth interviews with twenty older people enabled the phenomenon of learning and participation to be examined from different perspectives within a qualitative framework. Findings indicated that older people have sophisticated desires around the themes of independence, dependence and interdependence and that learning opportunities are essential to effective brokerage of appropriate services. Problematisation of policy concepts around self-directed care also indicated that the potential for empowerment of older people within their relationships with care professionals might be enhanced through engaging with different pedagogies. Recommendations are made for finding mechanisms in care settings that engage with learning to improve the quality of responses to older people.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Keywords (uncontrolled): Older people, lifelong learning, social inclusion, educational gerontology, user involvement, Habermas, social work,
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Mental Health, Social Work and Interprofessional Learning
Item ID: 13052
Notes on copyright: Yes, this is already available from The Open University Library and The British Library in hard copy format
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Trish Hafford-Letchfield
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2014 14:24
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2022 07:22

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