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Abstract

The policy sciences, says Harold Lasswell, require "clarification of goals, analysis of conditions, project of future developments, and invention, evaluation, and selection of alternatives."1 This rocess is imbued with values and often these values lie unrecognized.3 Both personal values of the individual analyst and social values of the Society can be and often are involved. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate four policy problems involved in analyses concerning the elderly, and to suggest some additional considerations which would bring these problems into the open and aid in specification and focusing of policy research in this area. While only two of the areas specifically concern values, the remaining two contain implicit value issues. This effort, and others, at laying out basic issues involved in policy analysis of the condition of the elderly is essential if policy and planning are to be carried out in an understandable and appropriate manner. As Gil indicates, "there is... a curious lack of clarity as to what social policy actually is..." and an "...insufficient comprehension of the nature of the key processes through which policy systems operate....,,3 One part of that policy process is construction of an intellectual/conceptual backdrop. This paper represents an attempt to specify more concretely a set of considerations in each of four areas crucial to policy for the elderly. Unless the policy analysis process itself is analyzed, we remain victims of our assumptions and preconceptions.

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