Political pressures to enact laws which pro vide distinctive status to the elderly are much in evidence. The premises regarding equality and equity which provide the rationale for the plethora of old-age-related laws are less clear, and the consequences of these laws on the status of older people are poorly understood. Early legal efforts to distinguish between the infant and the adult provide an antecedent for current efforts to distinguish between the adult and the elderly. The shift from functional age to formal age criteria also provides a context for consideration of current age-related issues. The politics of aging today, for the most part, accepts the inequality of the elderly and uses formal—chronological—age as a basis for eligibility for services which alleviate the negative consequences of inequality. The courts are likely to be called upon shortly to consider the Constitutionality of use of chronological age to determine legal status and of current strategies to promote equity.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/leonard_cain/10/