The idea of active ageing retains a broad appeal and has a global reach, particularly through the influence of the World Health Organisation (WHO). However, in practice it has been the subject of criticism. In this article, it is argued that the incorporation of active ageing into the policy agendas of the welfare systems for older people should be understood by reference to the perceived effects of demographic trends on demand for services. In the context of the British welfare system, the active ageing agenda has become inextricably linked with the broader policy agenda to reduce older people's call on public resources in order to manage the increasing proportions of older people in the British population. The implications of these developments for social work are significant.
- community work/social development; older people; social work; active ageing; demographic trends