Economic and Legal Instruments of Local Senior Policy in the Level of Municipalities
Purpose: The purpose of the article is to diagnose and evaluate the local senior policy undertaken by Polish municipalities in the face of the progressing process of population aging. Both legal and economic instruments currently used in public social policy for older people were analyzed. Design/Methodology/Approach: The study uses a group of methods typical of social sciences, such as empirical cognition methods, and in particular observation. Descriptive analysis and deductive and inductive reasoning were used. Moreover, in the area of legal regulations analysis, the legal-dogmatic method was applied. Findings: The analysis of the instruments used by municipalities in Poland in the framework of senior policy allows us to conclude that they are not always adequate and able to keep up with the growing needs of the rapidly growing number of seniors. Senior policy in Poland is a relatively new phenomenon. Therefore, there is a lack of experience which would allow to develop long-term legal and economic solutions. This would provide a basis for municipalities to develop stable plans and to take measures for the benefit of the elderly. Municipalities should be provided with sources of funding for the growing needs of seniors. Practical Implications: The results of the conducted analysis may serve as a basis for the verification of legal regulations and economic instruments used by municipalities, relating to social policy towards the elderly, and may also become an inspiration for further scientific research in this area. In the final part of the study, guidelines/suggestions were formulated in this respect. Originality/Value: So far, the literature has dealt mainly with the topic of the silver economy in the context of factors influencing economic processes and the use of the potential of older people, taking into account their needs. This article is an attempt at instrumental approach to senior policy (legal and economic instruments) used by municipalities in Poland. The study indicates that the pool of instruments used is extremely poor and incoherent, and it is difficult to speak of a coordinated, comprehensive senior policy implemented by municipalities, in the absence of appropriate legal solutions at the central level.