Are modern social issues old news? Single parents, the ageing population and the Victorian family

by Kevin Schürer

The modern family has its struggles. Single-parent families are often at the forefront of Government debates about welfare and employment. The elderly population is growing, and more and more people live alone in their later years. People marry later and have children later – who in turn are leaving home later and later.

At first glance, our complicated modern family structure might seem to be just that – modern. However, a look at the data shows that family has never been simple. Continue reading

Guidelines for pedestrian crossing speeds may disadvantage older people

Elizabeth Webb

Elizabeth Webb is a lecturer in gerontology at the University of Southampton, a member of the ESRC’s International Centre for Lifecourse Studies and principal investigator of an ESRC grant to investigate causes and consequences of caregiving in later life. She has an interest in older people’s physical capability and use of transport.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is consulting on new draft guidelines on environmental changes which should be made to support people to be physically active. The consultation caught my eye, since it directly relates to some ESRC funded research I recently published with colleagues.

The draft NICE guidelines state that local authorities should ensure pedestrian crossings give people with limited mobility enough time to cross the road. This is a laudable aim, however I want to emphasise that the current guidelines for crossing speeds don’t just disadvantage people who would be thought of as having limited mobility, but a large majority of the UK’s older population.

Continue reading