It is likely that we will live to be old, less certain that we will remain in good health. To better understand the question of the dependency of the elderly, which is increasingly poignant given the ageing population, Christophe Capuano provides his perspective as a historian and retraces the birth of the welfare state since the 1880s.
The established frameworks, based on social assistance or welfare, have always fallen short. Long associated with the seriously infirm or with the disabled, the elderly lost the advantages of disability policies in the late 20th century. The recognition of dependency as a risk for social security ("the fifth risk for Social Security") has been consistently pushed back until the present day.
Through the subject of dependency, the author emphasises the priority of budgetary savings and the logics of public finances in the social policies directed at senior citizens. He also focuses on the essential role of families, which has been constant over time, in spite of claims by public authorities who continue to criticise their lack of engagement.