Bridging policies and practice: challenges and opportunities for the governance of disability and ageing

Int J Integr Care. 2010 Apr 12;10:e041. doi: 10.5334/ijic.522.


Introduction: In the context of an increasingly ageing society with a growing number of persons diagnosed with chronic disabling conditions including dementia and persons with disabilities, ageing and disability represent two policy fields which need to be jointly re-thought. So far, policymakers and other political actors have not adequately reacted to these changing demographics.

Description of policy and practice: The two policy fields are based upon different presuppositions. Also, disability and ageing interest groups set different agendas. As several political actor groups with diverse interests and goals operate in the political space, efforts to bridge policies and practices in ageing and disability are confronted with several challenges.

Conclusion and discussion: In order to create a policy framework for disability and ageing, shared political priorities need to be developed. It is necessary to re-think current disability and ageing policies and the objectives formulated by diverse interest groups in both fields, and future policies should not only focus on 'active/healthy/normal ageing' vs. 'non-healthy/non-normal ageing'. Overlap of contents between disability and ageing policies exists with both fields informing one another. This mutual influence will shape policymaking and policy practices with regard to an ageing population with a growing number of persons with disabilities.

Keywords: bridging agendas and objectives; governance of disability and ageing; policy and practice.