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Asset-based approaches, older people and social care: an analysis and critique

  • MARY DALY (a1) and SUE WESTWOOD (a2)


Asset-based thinking is increasingly prevalent in health policy and is to be found also in discourses on social care. This article explores and critiques the applicability of asset-based approaches to social care for older people, using Carol Bacchi's analytical framework to consider developments in the United Kingdom especially. The problem construction, assumptions and suggested solutions underpinning an asset-based approach are considered in turn. The paper draws two major conclusions. The first is that, while it has potential application to the field, the key assumptions and objectives of the asset-based approach do not hold well for social care and therefore adopting the approach carries risks. The paper concludes, secondly, that an asset-based approach is ‘over-promised’ in the sense of being insufficiently theorised and lacking empirical evidence. A number of suggestions are made for greater critical interrogation, improved empirical evidence and closer scrutiny of the policy ‘solutions’ associated with assets-related thinking.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Mary Daly, Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford, 32 Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2ER, UK E-mail:


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Asset-based approaches, older people and social care: an analysis and critique

  • MARY DALY (a1) and SUE WESTWOOD (a2)


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