a1 Norwegian Institute of Gerontology, Oscarsgt. 36, 0258 Oslo 2, Norway.
Norwegian elderly people today are clearly more aware of public help and services compared to the late 1960s, and a growing number of them prefer public rather than family help. A study in Oslo found that a majority would turn to the public services when in need of long-term help, even when children were living close by. Children or other informal helpers were preferred over the public services only when there was a need for short-term assistance. The growing preference for public help is taken primarily as a response to increased availability of public services, and not as a reflection of weaker inter-generational solidarity.
* A draft of this paper was presented at the conference ‘Inter-generational Relations and Equity: Individual and Collective Perspectives’, European Behavioural and Social Science Research Section of the IAG, Dubrovnik, 1989. I am grateful to Gunhild Hagestad and Susan Lingsom for their comments. They are, however, not responsible for whatever shortcomings remain.